Edition 1480
23 June 2018
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Health directorate recommends vaccination against measles

in News · 01-03-2018 13:19:00 · 0 Comments

The Portuguese Directorate-General for Health (DGS) has advised the Portuguese population to vaccinate against measles ahead of the busier holiday seasons, noting that it is the “best way” to avoid the contagious disease, which can be serious and even deadly.

Health directorate recommends vaccination against measles

“Spring and summer are approaching, when the international movements of citizens are more intense and the risk of contracting the disease is greater”, the DGS said in a statement at the end of last week.
As “measles is a health risk”, the DGS recommends that citizens check their vaccination certificates and vaccinate if necessary.
According to the vaccination schedule recommended in Portugal’s National Vaccination Programme, the first dose of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine should be taken at 12 months of age and the second at 5 years of age.
The vaccine is also recommended for adults born circa the 1970’s or later who have never had the disease or been vaccinated against measles.
The DGS recalls that more than 14,000 cases of measles were reported in Europe in 2017, tripling the number of cases recorded the previous year.
It also recalled that in 2017 two outbreaks of measles were found in Portugal based on two cases imported from other countries, with 27 confirmed cases and one death.
“People who are not protected by vaccination are at higher risk of contracting measles through contact with sick people or who are incubating the disease from other countries”, the DGS said.
It added, people who intend to travel may need additional doses of the jab and should contact their local health care facility or doctor.
The Directorate-General for Health pointed out that “measles is one of the most contagious infectious diseases and it can lead to serious illness or even death.”
It further warned that in some European countries measles outbreaks continue to occur in children and adults, noting that “vaccination remains the best way to prevent measles”.
Vaccination against measles is provided free of charge at the health centres of the Portuguese National Health Service (SNS).
Anyone with questions can contact the SNS 24-hour service on the 808 24 24 24 free-phone number.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), measles caused 35 deaths last year in the 53 countries of the European region, where more than 20,000 cases were recorded.
The WHO recalls that measles outbreaks reported last year affected one in four countries in the European region, with outbreaks reported in 15 of the 53 countries covered by WHO Europe.
According to the 2017 figures, more than 87 percent of the people who contracted measles had not been vaccinated against it.
Portugal’s health authorities officially declared the end of an epidemic in this country last July, after it was noted in February 2017.
Last summer, Portugal’s National Health Board launched a new vaccination campaign for children and adults, having bought 200,000 doses of the vaccine.
This month the World Health Organisation warned that Europe saw a big surge in measles cases in 2017, which the organisation said was a “tragedy” after a record low of cases in 2016. Cases increased four-fold from 2016 to 2017, with more than 20,000 people affected and 35 deaths.
Fifteen European region countries, including the UK, had large outbreaks. Measles cases were highest in Romania, Italy and Ukraine.
Experts said people shunning vaccination is part of the problem.

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Edition 1480
23 June 2018
Edition: 1480

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

Twitter

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