A 34-year-old woman killed by measles. In Covasna county, DSP representatives were booed

The measles epidemic is taking more and more victims, the number of deaths from this cause has reached 14. Last week, the National Institute of Public Health reported 767 new cases of measles and one new death. DSP representatives from Covasna were booed when they did vaccination campaigns.

14 people died from measles – Photo Archive

Between January 1, 2023 and April 21, 2024, 13,113 cases of measles were confirmed, according to INSP, reports Agerpres.

In the last week, the number of cases was decreasing, 767 new cases were registered, compared to 949 cases the previous week.

The death toll from the contagious disease reached 14.

A 34-year-old woman from Giurgiu County, with an unknown history of measles vaccination, died with a number of serious conditions, including advanced HIV/AIDS, pulmonary tuberculosis, chronic HBV hepatitis and cachexia.

The counties with the most illnesses remain Brașov, with 1,881 cases, Mureș, with 1,154 cases and Bucharest, with 1,376 cases. Between December 6, 2023 and April 21, 2024, according to data extracted from the RENV, 128,198 MOR vaccine doses were used, of which 20,520 were for children aged between 9 and 11 months.

Our country has gone from high vaccination rates to a situation where people's confidence in immunization sera has dropped alarmingly. It is the decline in vaccination coverage that has created the context for the spread of measles in communities. Vaccination coverage, for ROR, in Romania is low, 78% for the first dose, 62% for the second dose. And in order for the population to be protected from this contagious disease, the vaccination rate recommended by WHO is at least 95%.

Measles vaccination campaign - Photo INSP

Measles vaccination campaign – Photo INSP

It has a contagiousness of 95%. Practically, this means that 9 out of 10 people who come into contact with the virus get sick. If the vaccination rate remains as low as it has been, the epidemic will continue until all the receptive ones are exhausted. Measles infects and sickens susceptibles regardless of age. That is, all those who did not go through the disease and did not acquire post-infectious immunity, but also those who were not vaccinated. They, once they come into contact with the virus, will get sick, and then they will acquire immunity.“, recently explained the epidemiologist Emilian Popovici.

Vaccination with the police

In Covasna county, 453 cases of measles were registered, with an incidence of 227.56 per cent of thousand inhabitants, INSP data show. Thus, Covasna is the county in second place in terms of the incidence of measles cases, after Brașov, which has 341 cases per hundred thousand inhabitants. In third place is the county of Mureș with about 223 cases per hundred thousand inhabitants.

Covasna county has a vaccination rate of 86% with regard to the MMR vaccine for children aged 18 months, on the first dose, for the second dose, at 5 years, the vaccination coverage is 85%.

Measles incidence map in Romania - Photo INSP

Measles incidence map in Romania – Photo INSP

Several outbreaks of measles have been registered in Roma communities in recent months, and a new outbreak has been identified in a peripheral district of the county seat municipality, according to information provided by Radio Târdu Mureș and picked up by Rador.

So far, since the beginning of the year, we have investigated 413 cases of measles, six of which have been refuted. We, in fact, started this epidemic in the county after January 1 and had several outbreaks in the localities of Hetea, Doboșeni, Araci and now, at the moment, we have an outbreak in the evolution of a neighborhood in Sf. Gheorghe. There are many unvaccinated children there, children who are not registered with any family doctor…”, mentioned the representative of the Department of Epidemiology of DSP Covasna, Igyarto Gabriela.

Last year, hundreds of children in Covasna were successfully vaccinated, but not in all situations. In a Roma community, the Public Health Directorate teams were rejected, threatened and booed, right in front of the police and local authorities. Shortly after the incident, an outbreak of measles appeared in that community, Igyarto Gabriela added.

We still went (for vaccine recovery-no) to problem areas, but the truth is that we were not welcomed with open arms. For example, in Hetea we were booed, no one came for vaccination, no one wanted to collaborate with us, although the local communities and the family doctor were also there. There was also the police… there were only (no) verbal threats… they did us all kinds of things and said that we have nothing to do there, that they don't cooperate with us. That's it…“, stated the DSP representative from the county, according to the cited source.

And in Brașov, the authorities encountered a similar situation. At the end of last year, half of the number of measles cases in the county were registered among a Roma community. They refused vaccination for religious reasons.