Czech measles cases nearly eliminated following Covid-19 epidemic

After 590 measles cases in the Czech Republic in 2019, there were just four reported cases in 2020 and none in the first half of 2021.

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 01.08.2021 13:33 (updated on 01.08.2021)

The Czech healthcare system recorded only four cases of measles in 2020, and no cases through the first six months of 2021, according to National Institute of Public Health data released this weekend. Measles cases in the country had previously seen a steep rise over the past decade, up to 590 in 2019.

Experts say the measles epidemic has vanished, largely thanks to restrictive measures against Covid-19, Vaccinology Society President Roman Chlíbek told journalists.

However, after the measures are lifted measles cases may rise once again, Chlíbek warned.

In 2018 and in the first six months of 2019, measles cases reached modern highs both in Europe and in the Czech Republic. Because to this, the Czech Republic lost its World Health Organization status of a country in which measles had been eradicated.

According to the National Institute of Public Health, the epidemic had already began to recede and the drastically low numbers reported last year were due to reduced circulation among the population.

"Given the way the infection is transferred, the influence of epidemic measures imposed in connection with Covid-19 cannot be ruled out either," SZU spokeswoman Štěpánka Čechová said.

Chlíbek said the epidemic measures were clearly behind the fall.

"Measles are transmitted in a similar way as Covid. As a result, the measures minimized potential transmissions. As soon as the measures are lifted, measles will certainly return," he said.

Two years ago, the spread of the measles was attributed to a falling vaccination rate in the population, loss of immunity from the vaccine in advanced ages, and infections caught abroad.

Roman Prymula, the former head of the Vaccinology Society, said the rate of vaccination had fallen below 90 percent.

Due to this, the Health Ministry ordered compulsory vaccination of health personnel at selected hospital departments.

Experts say that measles will not spread if 95 percent of the population is vaccinated.

Number of measles cases in the Czech Republic since 2010:

YearCases
20100
201117
201222
201315
2014221
20159
20167
2017146
2018207
2019590
20204
2021 (through June)0
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