Large measles outbreak introduced by asylum seekers and spread among the insufficiently vaccinated resident population Berlin October 2014 to August 2015.

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Euro Surveill. 2017 Aug 24;22(34). pii: 30599. doi: 10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2017.22.34.30599.

Large measles outbreak introduced by asylum seekers and spread among the insufficiently vaccinated resident population Berlin October 2014 to August 2015.

Werber D12 Hoffmann A1234 Santibanez S5 Mankertz A5 Sagebiel D1.

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Abstract

The largest measles outbreak in Berlin since 2001 occurred from October 2014 to August 2015. Overall 1344 cases were ascertained 86% (with available information) unvaccinated including 146 (12%) asylum seekers. Median age was 17 years (interquartile range: 4-29 years) 26% were hospitalised and a 1-year-old child died. Measles virus genotyping uniformly revealed the variant D8-Rostov-Don and descendants. The virus was likely introduced by and initially spread among asylum seekers before affecting Berlins resident population. Among Berlin residents the highest incidence was in children aged < 2 years yet most cases (52%) were adults. Post-exposure vaccinations in homes for asylum seekers not always conducted occurred later (median: 7.5 days) than the recommended 72 hours after onset of the first case and reached only half of potential contacts. Asylum seekers should not only have non-discriminatory equitable access to vaccination they also need to be offered measles vaccination in a timely fashion i.e. immediately upon arrival in the receiving country. Supplementary immunisation activities targeting the resident population particularly adults are urgently needed in Berlin.

 

 

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