Date: Mon 1 Apr 2019
Source: Swiss Info [abridged, edited]
The Federal Office of Public Health external link said on Monday [1 Apr 2019] that 55 cases of measles were reported in March , nearly twice the number of cases registered at the beginning of the year .
In all, 97 cases have been recorded in 2019, the office said. This compares to 15 cases during the same 3-month period at the start of last year . In 2018, there were a total of 48 measles cases, and in 2017, there were 105.
In the World Health Organization external link (WHO)'s European region, which covers nearly 900 million people, some 82,600 in 47 countries contracted measles last year , the highest number this decade. Of those, 72 cases were fatal. The worst-affected countries were Ukraine (53,000 cases), followed by Serbia (5076), Israel (2919), France (2913), Russia (2256), Italy (2517), Georgia (2203), and Greece (2193). Six of the 53 countries did not report.
The record number in Europe is partly due to a growing number of pockets where parents are refusing vaccination for their children, the WHO said in February . At the same time, the WHO said, record numbers of children are getting the vaccine, offering hope that the rise in infections may not last.
In 1987, the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health announced a vaccination strategy that it hoped would eradicate measles by the year 2000. To eradicate measles, the WHO advocates a vaccination coverage of 95% of the population. Swiss coverage is currently below this at 87% for 2-year-olds and 93% for 16-year-olds.
In Switzerland, there are large differences between cantons, with more urban cantons reaching a near-100% level, while rural areas score much lower, with the lowest vaccination rate in the tiny canton of Appenzell Inner Rhodes at 82%.
[HealthMap/ProMED map of Switzerland: