Reemergence of measles in Croatia

After more than a year, measles reappeared in Croatia.

CIPH has been informed by territorially competent public health institutes of the Split-Dalmatia County and the City of Zagreb about five patients with measles in the past three weeks.

Patients are two adults from Zagreb and three children from the Split-Dalmatia County.

The first registered patient with measles in this period, a child from the Split-Dalmatia County who became ill during his stay in Zagreb, was in contact with the first registered adult in Zagreb.

Measles vaccination status for the two adults is not known; among the three children, one had received one dose of the vaccine, while the other two children have not been vaccinated against measles.

Immunization coverage rate of children against measles, rubella and mumps has been declining in Croatia over the past five years, and in the Split-Dalmatia County it is extremely low, among the lowest in Croatia. Equally worrying are low vaccination coverage rates in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County.

We kindly ask paediatricians, adolescent medicine and general medicine physicians to check the immunization status of children who are in their care, and to invite parents of unvaccinated children to vaccinate and protect their children as soon as possible.

Immunization against measles, rubella and mumps is the best way to protect a child from measles and permanently maintaining high vaccine coverage is the only way to prevent measles outbreaks.

By maintaining high vaccination coverage rates, we protect not only the vaccinated children, but we also prevent the circulation of measles virus in the population by creating collective immunity and thus protecting our fellow citizens who cannot be vaccinated because of their age and health status.

For a solid and long-lasting protection, it is necessary to receive two doses of vaccine at a minimum interval of 28 days, but even one vaccine dose provides solid protection in 95% of the vaccinated persons.

There is a number of scientific evidence which proves that the application of vaccine is not associated with the alleged side effects that vaccination opponents use to unduly frighten the population with, such as autism, diabetes in children, autoimmune diseases, chronic allergic diseases and chronic inflammatory bowel disease.

The vaccine may also be effective in preventing measles infection in susceptible contacts of the patients, if applied on time (within three days of contact with an infectious patient).