Measles makes a comeback in Europe – Belgium affected

Measles is an extremely contagious disease, more contagious than Covid and the flu. Most countries in the West have not been particularly affected, as a result of extensive vaccination programs.

But now measles has started to appear again in Europe. In 2023, 43,000 cases were registered in Europe.

Those who become ill are affected by, among other things, an itchy rash, fever and dry cough, but also by more serious side effects.

– It’s an itchy rash, we really don’t feel well, with possible complications such as secondary infections and severe diarrhoea. You can also have headaches, brain infections or pneumonia, says Jean-François Questiaux, head of the pediatric department at CHR Verviers.

Just in the city of Verviers in eastern Belgium, a wave of measles has been noted recently. In just two weeks, around ten cases have been discovered in one district. The children who fell ill were not vaccinated.

– We isolate them in the waiting room, we see them quickly and if there is a way, we treat them at home and if necessary in hospital in isolation, says Jean-François Questiaux.

Measles can also infect adults. Generally, they were vaccinated for the first time at one year of age, but did not receive their second dose.

MEASLES – this is how the disease spreads

• Measles virus is excreted with the breathing air and spread via the air that drips.

• You become infected by staying in the same room as a person with measles.

• Even if the infected person has left the room, others can be infected up to two hours afterwards.

• An infected person spreads the disease up to four days before the rash appears, and two days after it appears.

• The incubation period (the time from being infected until you become ill) is usually 10–12 days, but can vary from 7–21 days.

Source: Public Health Agency