Authorities on alert over measles outbreak; no incidents recorded in refugee camps, says Health Minister Xanthos
“We are not complacent, we are on alert and we are following the instructions given by the National Vaccination Committee based on the changing map of the measles epidemic in Greece and Europe,” Health Minister Andreas Xanthos stated to Athens Macedonian News Agency radio station “Praktoreio 104.9FM” on Thursday, regarding the measles outbreak in Greece.
He said that approximately 170 cases have been recorded so far in Greece but “fortunately none of them had either serious complications or were fatal”. It was positive that a greater awareness to the benefits of vaccination had developed in Greek public opinion during this period, he added.
Scientists consider that the outbreak of measles was largely the result of the anti-vaccination movement. Fortunately, these movements do not yet have a strong influence in Greece, said Xanthos noting that immunization coverage in Greece corresponds to 96 pct of the general population, a percentage that is among the highest in Europe.
The cases recorded so far in Greece concerned mostly populations of Roma children under 10 years old, Xanthos said, adding that a Centre for Disease Control and Prevention unit has already vaccinated 1,500 children in Roma camps in the Attica region.
Xanthos clarified that there were no measles cases in any refugee camp because “the children in all refugee camps were vaccinated in early 2016”.