Three cases of measles reported in Harju County
Two people who recently returned from a trip to Indionesia have been diagnosed with measles in Harju County. Both had only received one dose of the measles vaccine, which is not enough for total immunity.
A third case, a family member of one of the patients, was diagnosed on Tuesday.
As all patients are active young people with families, they could have come into contact with a large number of people before the symptoms manifested themselves. Measles is a highly contagious disease, the Health Board warns. Up to 98 of 100 people, who have not been vaccinated but come into contact with the virus, could become infected.
The first symptoms of measles are fever, feeling unwell, cough, runny nose, conjuctivitis and sensitivity to light. A few days later a characteristic rash will appear on the skin, starting from behind the ears and spreading to the face, neck and the entire body.
A patient is infectious for 4-5 days before the rash appears and up to 5 days after. People are advised to avoid any contact with measles patients.
There is no cure for the virus; doctors can only alleviate the symptoms. The disease can lead to complications like acute pneumonia, otitis media, and meningitis.
In Estonia, children receive their first dose of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine at the age of one, meaning that all children under that age have no immunity to the disease. A repeat dose is administered at 13.
According to the Health Board, there are currently 6,601 children in Estonia between the ages of 2-14 who have not been vaccinated. Majority are based in Tallinn and Harju County.
Over the recent years, Estonia has been almost free of the virus, having achieved the target of less than one case per one million inhabitants in 2014. One case was reported in April 2015, April 2013 and March 2013.
According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, the largest number of cases in the EU and EEA, up to 50 per million residents, are reported in Croatia, Austria, Germany, and Slovenia.
During the 12-month period from October 2014 to September 2015, a total of 4,202 cases were reported by 30 EU/EEA countries.