Over the past 12 months, the largest number of cases of measles was registered in Tajikistan (610), Turkey (466) and Russia (414). In Austria, Serbia, the UK and Uzbekistan, the incidence has increased since the beginning of 2023.
According to the UN press service, since the beginning of the year, cases of measles have been reported in 17 countries of the WHO European Region. By the end of February, 900 cases were officially reported, more than in all of 2022.
The WHO emphasizes that the authorities of all countries, including those in which the elimination of endemic transmission of measles has been confirmed, must remain vigilant regarding this highly contagious disease.
“Once an outbreak is confirmed, WHO recommends a series of rapid response actions, including investigating the circumstances of the infection, identifying and vaccinating those who have been in contact with the infected and susceptible to the disease, infection control in health care settings, and working with affected communities or populations to increase awareness,” WHO spokesman José Agan said.
He noted that although the number of measles cases in the above regions has been significantly reduced thanks to the support of WHO and UNICEF, more efforts are needed to close gaps in immunization and prevent further transmission both domestically and internationally.
“In the European region, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on vaccination rates has varied both between and within countries. Some states have managed to catch up between the waves of COVID-19 and maintain the desired level of immunization. In other countries, routine immunizations have been interrupted or delayed for a significant period,” the statement said.
The press service of the Committee for Sanitary and Epidemiological Welfare and Public Health (SES) of Uzbekistan reported that as a result of active epidemiological investigations, 37 measles patients were identified in the country over the past period of this year.
It also became known that in order to prevent a difficult epidemic situation for measles, from November 16 to December 30, 2022, mass vaccination was carried out among children aged 6 months to 5 years. As a result of the vaccination activities carried out, 3,303,582 children were vaccinated out of the planned 3,355,900 (98.4%), vaccination activities continue.
“Based on this, we can say that at present all the necessary preventive measures against the disease are being carried out in our republic, the epidemic situation is stable and is under full control,” the SES concluded.