A lot of measles cases this year
The number of measles diseases in Germany has increased significantly compared to the previous year. Populous North Rhine-Westphalia is most affected. No federal state is completely free of measles. The infectious disease is particularly dangerous for infants and young children.
Significantly more measles cases than last year
Some people still dismiss measles as a harmless childhood disease. But the infectious disease also affects adults. This year, more than two and a half times as many measles cases have been reported in Germany as in the entire previous year. The most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia is particularly affected.
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 dpa news agency. According to the information, there were 325 measles infections throughout the previous year.
The most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia - and especially the cities of Duisburg and Essen - is the most affected this year with a good 510 cases of measles. According to the RKI, no federal state is completely measles-free, but several only report individual cases.
As a spokeswoman for the institute said, there are large annual and regional fluctuations in measles outbreaks.
Infectious disease does not only affect children
Measles is highly contagious. The disease is transmitted via a droplet infection. It starts with flu-like symptoms such as high fever, cough and runny nose. The characteristic rash follows later.
In general, measles weakens the immune system. As a result, bronchitis, otitis media or pneumonia can occur. In rare cases, the infection can be fatal.
The disease is particularly dangerous in infants and young children.
Discussions about vaccination
In connection with the infectious disease, there is a lot of discussion about a possible measles vaccination in Germany. In Italy, such a law was introduced a few months ago.
A majority of Germans would welcome vaccination, but numerous experts are against it. They prefer education rather than vaccination.
Vaccination protection also for adults
In Germany measles vaccination is recommended for children from the eleventh month of life, for infants in a day care center from the ninth month.
Adults should also check their measles vaccination protection if necessary.
A single vaccination against measles is generally recommended for all adults who were born after 1970 and who have not been vaccinated against measles at all or only once during childhood or whose vaccination status is unclear, the RKI writes on its website.
"People who were born before 1970 are very likely to have had measles," said the experts. (ad)