Measles outbreak: already more than 2,000 reported cases


Nearly 90% of the infected patients were not vaccinated or had received only one injection. Eighty-one departments are now involved.

Long contained by the vaccination of children, measles is making a strong comeback in our country . Since 1 January, 2,070 cases have been reported, says the latest weekly epidemiological bulletin published by Santé publique France about this viral disease. Eighty-one departments are now concerned and, with nearly half of the cases, New Aquitaine is declared in an epidemic situation.

The measles manifested by rash preceded by rhinitis (runny nose), conjunctivitis, coughing, accompanied by high fever and fatigue. There is no effective treatment, doctors can only offer remedies for the symptoms. Healing takes place in about ten days, but more or less serious complications can occur (pneumonia, encephalitis …). Hospitalization is required in 20% of the reported cases. And a 32-year-old woman even died in Poitiers in mid-February .

10 times more contagious than flu

The measles virus is ten times more contagious than flu because a patient can infect up to 20 others. Transmission occurs through air, during coughing, sneezing, or through direct contact with contaminated objects (toys, tissues, etc.). Previously, she mostly touched very young children. Today, one-third of reported cases involve people over the age of 15.Public Health France recalls that measles has been on the increase since November 2017 after having decreased between 2012 and 2016, and that this situation is the consequence of insufficient immunization coverage for infants (79% with two doses of vaccine instead of 95% necessary to contain the disease), children and young adults. She also estimates that almost nine out of ten patients were not or were inadequately vaccinated (in other words, they had only received one injection, instead of the two recommended). For the record, vaccination is now mandatory for all infants born after January 1, 2018 (first dose at 12 months, second between 16 and 18 months).

After a rapid increase in the first weeks of 2018, the number of cases begins to decline after an epidemic peak observed in week 13. But “caution is still required,” because the data of SOS doctors during the week 18 show a further – albeit moderate – increase in the number of measles consultations, but not confirmed by emergency department data, says Public Health France.

Update of the vaccination status of health professionals

In March, the Directorate-General for Health activated level 2 of the crisis management system, in order to “strengthen the daily monitoring of the evolution of the situation and adapt the response to this epidemic”. She then asked the High Council of Public Health to make recommendations in this area. One of them urges the health and medico-social institutions to take all the necessary measures to verify and update as soon as possible the immunization status of health professionals with regard to measles. According to estimates dating back to 2009, only 46% of doctors and 56% of nurses are …

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