WORLD Biggest measles outburst in decades hits parts of Lithuania

WORLD

Biggest measles outburst in decades hits parts of Lithuania

Xinhua

06:26, March 16, 2019

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(Photo: CGTN)

VILNIUS, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Lithuania's second largest county of Kaunas faces the biggest outburst of measles in decades amid parents' reluctance to vaccinate their kids, Lithuania's Center for Communicable diseases and Aids (ULAC) announced on Friday.

A total of 87 cases of measles have been registered so far this year in Kaunas, Lithuania's second largest county, according to ULAC.

"A few cases of measles registered in January have turned into an outburst, which we haven't witnessed for decades," ULAC said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

In total, 128 cases of measles have been registered so far in Lithuania this year, compared to 30 cases in Lithuania for the whole 2018, ULAC data showed.

The Center says the outburst was caused by parents' reluctance to vaccinate their kids. Out of 32 infected children 30 were not vaccinated.

"The right for parents to decide on whether to vaccinate their kids or not has turned against us," said ULAC.

The recent data from ULAC shows, the number of children vaccinated from measles has decreased from 97 percent in 2009 to 92.2 percent in 2018.

According to ULAC, every year some 5,000 children are not vaccinated in Lithuania, a small Baltic country with population of less than 3 million.

"During the previous ten years, the number of non-vaccinated children exposed to measles has exceeded 50,000," warned ULAC and reminded vaccination is free of charge.

According to ULAC, 60 percent of those infected are adults aged 3544 years, their vaccination status is not clear for ULAC, the Center guesses infected adults had probably been vaccinated not more than once in their life.

65 percent of infected people have been put into hospitals due to complications, mostly pneumonia, inner ear inflammation.

Measles is a highly contagious, serious disease caused by a virus, says World Health Organization.

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