Measles risk warning for middle-aged people

The alert comes after one child in Satakunta was discovered to have caught the virus.

File picture of sick child with measles / Credit: iStock

People born between 1965 and 1975 may be at increased risk of catching measles because they lack sufficient vaccine protection.

The warning from health authorities comes after a case of measles in an un-vaccinated child was detected in Satakunta region in western Finland.

The local hospital Satasairaala suspects the child had been exposed to the infection while on holiday in Lapland during New Year.

Although there is just one incident confirmed so far, a local hospital consider there’s a chance that more incidents crop up in the coming days.

The measles virus is spread when an infected person coughs, breaths or talks.

According to a hospital, Satakunta has a good vaccination coverage, so it’s unlikely for the infection to spread. However, they’re urging anyone who visited the children’s waiting room at the hospital on the afternoon of 13th January be aware of symptoms.

“We’re hoping that visitors of the hospital will make sure whether they had been to the waiting room. In case there have been some deficiencies in vaccination protection we hope they will be in touch with their local health centre. Any lack of vaccination coverage should be supplemented” the hospital says.

The primary symptoms of measles usually start 9 to 11 days after exposure. The first symptoms are high fever and respiratory symptoms. The rash usually begins 3-5 days after the initial symptoms and lasts for more than a week.

“If measles-like symptoms appear within three weeks of a potential exposure, call your health center for more information” the hospital advises.

Measles continues to be a global health problem 

Measles outbreaks continue to crop up around the world, with Europe, the Americas and the eastern Mediterranean region hit by an upsurge in cases during 2017.

The World Health Organisation notes that measles is preventable through two doses of vaccine. However for several years the global coverage of the first dose has stayed the same around 85% which is sort of the 95% coverage needed to prevent outbreaks.

Second dose coverage stands at 67% the WHO says.