A hospital has confirmed the first death of a child from a measles infection in the Netherlands for four years.
The victim, a girl, was a patient at the Radboudumc university hospital in Nijmegen. The hospital did not disclose any personal details, including where she contracted the illness, citing patient confidentiality.
The World Health Organization (WHO) warned last year that there was a high risk of measles outbreaks after an estimated 40 million children worldwide missed their measles vaccine during the coronavirus pandemic.
Since the Netherlands introduced its vaccination programme in 1976 the number of recorded cases in a typical year has dwindled from around 100,000 a year to 10, while the chance of dying is estimated at one in 10,000.
The last major outbreak was in 2013-14, leading to 180 people being hospitalised, two of whom later died.
Latest figures show 91.3% of children have had a full set of vaccinations, including the MMR jab which protects against measles, mumps and rubella, by the age of two, but the proportion has declined by 1% in the last year. Vaccine uptake is much lower in Bible Belt communities.
Radboudumc microbiologist Matthew McCall said the Netherlands could expect an outbreak of measles every four to eight years.
‘As long as there are communities where vaccinations are not given or the rate is low, outbreaks will emerge every few years in those communities,’ he told the Gelderlander.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.Make a donation