Is Poland threatened by measles epidemic? The number of cases of this disease has been growing rapidly in recent years. During the first eight months of 2019 the National Hygiene Institute recorded nearly four times more measles than in the whole of 2018.
How many measles cases in 2019?
While in the years 2014-2016 the disease dynamics was sinusoidal, since 2017 a clear upward trend can be observed. In 2017, the number of diseases reported to the National Institute of Public Health – National Institute of Hygiene (NIPH-PZH) was about 60. A year later, there were already six times more of them. During the first eight months of 2019, there were almost 1,400 cases of the disease. This is almost four times more than in the whole of 2018. And this is not the end yet, because last year the peak of the disease fell on the last quarter of the year.
Main reason: anti-vaccination movements
The increasing number of measles cases is due to the increase in the number of parents who are evading the obligation to vaccinate. This is mainly due to the so-called anti-vaccination movements. According to the Chief Sanitary Inspectorate (GIS), out of 38,400 children not vaccinated at the end of 2018 due to evasion of the obligation to vaccinate (concerns all diseases), parents of as many as 14,200 of them indicated the influence of antivaccination movements as the reason for refusing to vaccinate.
At the same time, around 22,800 pointed to another reason, which in PMR’s opinion could also to a large extent mean the impact of such movements (some parents may not have wanted to admit it or may be ashamed to admit it). The “Other” category for reasons of refusals did not include religious/ethnic identity, the influence of environments promoting alternative medicine or the occurrence of undesirable post-vaccination reactions in the child’s close environment.
Let us remind you that before the introduction of compulsory vaccination in Poland, measles infections were common. Epidemics occurred every 2-3 years, and the number of cases was 70-130 thousand between epidemics and 135-200 thousand in epidemic years. Since 2004, the vaccination scheme in Poland has provided for the first dose of the vaccine to be administered in 13-14 months of age. It is the so-called MMR – vaccine conjugated against measles, mumps and rubella.