Measles cases rising in Netherlands: Health Authority

So far this year, up until the start of April, there have been 15 cases of measles in the Netherlands. In previous years, the country counted between 10 and 20 measles diagnoses over the entire year, State Secretary Paul Blokhuis said in a letter to parliament. He blames the increase in diagnoses on outbreaks in various other European countries, AD reports.

Most of the measles patients in the Netherlands contracted the disease abroad, and sometimes then infected one or more other persons in our country. This does not only involve children, but also adults who are not protected against the disease. The measles vaccination was added to the national vaccination program in 1976, so there are some adults who were never vaccinated.

National public health institute RIVM alerted all GGD health services to the situation. General practitioners have also been informed, Blokhuis said. Travel advice will also be updated to pay extra attention to vaccination against measles, to prevent travelers from contracting the disease abroad. 

The State Secretary sent this letter to parliament after at least three children were diagnosed with measles at a daycare center in The Hague. A fourth child is also sick, but has not yet been diagnosed with measles, according to the newspaper. It is believed that one of the children contracted measles abroad and spread it to the other children. None of the three infected children were vaccinated against measles, while two of them were eligible for vaccination, AD writes.

Because of the privacy of the parents and children involved, Blokhuis did not want to say anything further about the measles outbreak in the daycare. "However, it is important to establish that such a situation is also quite possible if all children have been vaccinated exactly according to schedule. At every daycare, there are children under 14 months of age who have not yet received the measles vaccination and can therefore be infected", he said.