Man Dies from Measles in Ireland - Is There a Risk of an Epidemic?

Written by Henrik Rothen

Feb.10 - 2024 11:52 AM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
After years, the return of a dangerous infectious disease has been recorded. Moreover, there has already been its first fatal victim, a man from Ireland. Are we facing another epidemic? How can we protect ourselves from this disease?

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In recent years, there has been a sharp increase in the number of people suffering from measles. Across Europe, the disease has been spreading more each year.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), last year, the number of infections on our continent increased 45-fold compared to 2022.

In 2023, there were officially 42,200 cases, compared to 941 the year before.

Disease Returns After Years

Recently in Ireland, a man contracted measles and, unfortunately, passed away. This was the first confirmed case of measles in the country this year. Since 2020, there have been 11 cases in Ireland, but until now, no fatalities.

Prof. Breda Smyth, the Chief Medical Officer of Ireland, expressed concern over the "high risk" of a measles outbreak in the country and called on citizens to get vaccinated against the disease.

Are We at Risk of a Measles Epidemic?

Over the last few years, there has been a decline in the percentage of people vaccinated against measles. It's important to remember that vaccination is the only effective protection against this potentially devastating disease.

Measles is one of the most contagious diseases.

Infection spreads through droplets and direct contact with nasal and throat secretions of an infected person. Symptoms include fever, severe cough, maculopapular rash, conjunctivitis, photophobia, and rhinitis.

Complications from measles are relatively common. Milder complications include otitis media and gastrointestinal infection, while more severe ones can include meningitis.

The likelihood of a measles epidemic is still relatively low, but if the warnings from the WHO are not taken seriously, it could end badly.

According to Nature, the reason for the decline in vaccinations can be found in the Covid-19 pandemic. This pandemic led to some skepticism among people regarding vaccines and their safety, and therefore, more and more people have chosen not to vaccinate their children or themselves against, for example, measles.

Their clear recommendation, therefore, is to get vaccinated if we are to avoid an epidemic in the future.

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