Just When You Thought the Spread of Measles was Just a US Problem…Don’t Forget Europe!
LewisFirst, MD, MS, Editor in Chief, Pediatrics
It is hard not to find a story about the spread of measles in the US originating in
areas where children have been under or not vaccinated. But there may be another reason
why measles are spreading in this country—and that is due to the spread of this viral
illness in Europe. Angelo et al. (10.1542/peds.2019-0414) provide us with a special article this week describing 41,000 cases of measles and
37 deaths that occurred in the first six months of 2018 in World Health Organization
European region countries. Why the outbreak? Similar to the US, there is low vaccine
coverage in some countries such as the Ukraine (which has had the most cases), but
just as worrisome are elevated rates in France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, the Russian
Federation, and Serbia. If you are traveling to Europe and are under or not vaccinated
against measles, you are putting yourself and your children at risk for contracting
measles. In addition, if you aren’t traveling but interacting with those who did
travel to Europe and are not vaccinated properly, you can also put yourself at risk.
If your patients are planning a trip to Europe, please ask them if they need a measles
vaccine—because not doing so, may only make the spread of this potentially fatal virus
all the more problematic. Read this special article and learn more.