Daycare centres on measles alert as two clusters emerge in NL


Government advisors are recommending that daycare centres refuse to accept the brothers and sisters of children who have measles in a bid to head off the threat of an epidemic.

By April 17 there had been 64 reported cases of measles in the Netherlands, concentrated in two clusters, and officials are concerned there could be a serious spread without action. The vaccination rate for measles has dropped below the 90% cover considered crucial to protect the population.

The situation at present is not acute and the outbreak is regional, according to the public health institute RIVM. However, officials are taking the risk seriously because the last big outbreak was 10 years ago and there tends to be an epidemic in the Bible belt every 10 to 15 years.

The government’s Outbreak Management Team met at the end of last month to make new recommendations for dealing with measles and reducing the risk of further infections.

The agency says daycare centres should be extra vigilant and has also recommended regional health boards buy in extra vaccines to deal with any increase in demand. Children are currently given two doses of vaccine, at 14 months and at nine years although the second dose will be brought forward next year.

Measles are currently a particular problem in Austria, France and Romania. One of the clusters, centred in Eindhoven, is thought to have originated abroad.

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