Number of measles cases in Germany is rising rapidly
The number of measles diseases in Germany increased significantly year-on-year. Most affected is the populous North Rhine-Westphalia. No federal state is completely free of measles. The infectious disease is especially dangerous for infants and toddlers.
Significantly more measles cases than in the previous year
Measles are still dismissed by some people as a harmless childhood disease. But the infectious disease also affects adults. More than two and a half times as many measles cases have been reported in Germany this year as in the entire previous year. Particularly affected is the most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Most populous federal state particularly affected
According to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), 860 people have been diagnosed with the highly contagious virus in 2017, reports the news agency dpa. According to the data, there were 325 measles infections throughout the previous year.
The most densely populated state of North Rhine-Westphalia - and especially the cities of Duisburg and Essen - is hit hardest this year with more than 510 measles cases. According to RKI, no federal state is completely free of marshes, but several only report individual cases.
As a spokeswoman of the institute explained, there are large annual and regional fluctuations in measles outbreaks.
Highly contagious disease affects not only children
Measles are highly contagious. The disease is transmitted by droplet infection. It begins with flu-like symptoms such as high fever, cough and runny nose. Later follows the characteristic rash.
In general, measles weaken the immune system. As a result, it can come to, among other things, bronchitis, otitis media or pneumonia. In rare cases, the infection can be fatal.
The disease is particularly dangerous in infants and toddlers.
Discussions about compulsory vaccination
In connection with the infectious disease is repeatedly discussed a possible measles vaccination in Germany. In Italy, such was introduced a few months ago by statute.
A majority of Germans would welcome the obligation to vaccinate, but many experts are against it. They rely more on education than vaccination.
Vaccination also for adults
In Germany, the measles vaccine is recommended for children from the eleventh month of life, for infants in a daycare from the ninth month.
Adults should also check their measles vaccine protection if necessary.
"A single measles vaccine is generally recommended for all adults born after 1970 who have not been vaccinated against measles or whose immunization status is unclear once in their childhood," the RKI writes on its website.
"Those born before 1970 are likely to have already gone through measles," say the experts. (Ad)