The number of measles cases continues to rise in Greece, with health experts calling for full vaccination for both children and adults.
As of Thursday afternoon, 166 cases of measles were reported to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO) in southern Greece; mainly in Attica and the Peloponnese. Authorities say the phenomenon can be extended to other geographical areas in the coming weeks.
Seventy five percent of the cases were of children from the Roma communities; the remaining twenty five percent were non-Roma adults, between the ages of 25-44, including doctors and other health professionals who had not been adequately vaccinated.
Many of the victims, are employees of the National Health System (ESY), as well. According to the Panhellenic Federation of Public Hospital Employees, a doctor, two nurses and two staff members of Thriasio Hospital in Attica have also been affected. The federation blames the Ministry of Health, and KEELPNO for criminal delays and states that “although the outbreaks occurred a month ago, KEELPNO sent a directive to hospitals for antibody testing to professionals who were born after 1972, and who did not take two doses of measles vaccine, only a few days ago.”
The federation also asserts that the ministry and KEELPNO did not supply hospitals with the necessary reagents to control the measles antibodies, or the necessary vaccines.
Due to the epidemic outbreak of measles in Greece, the National Vaccine Committee recommends the immediate vaccination of children, adolescents and adults who have not been vaccinated with the necessary doses of the vaccine MMR (measles-mumps -rubella).
Adults who are born after 1970 and who have no history of disease, should be vaccinated with two doses of the measles vaccine. Children should be given the first dose of the vaccine at the age of 12 months, and the second dose should be given three months later, or in high risk cases, after four weeks.