09:08 GMT03 April 2020
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    Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe (162)
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    While only a few measles cases registered in Switzerland since the beginning of the year have been imported by migrants, the possibility of "hidden importation" of the disease should not be ruled out, the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) told Sputnik on Thursday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Over 4,000 people have been affected by outbreaks of measles in Europe since the beginning of 2017, with some cases resulting in the death of the patient, Russian consumer protection watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said in a statement on Wednesday.

    "Contrary to previous years, only a few cases of measles could be proven as being imported in 2017 (3 importations for 70 cases announced). These 3 imported cases caused 4 secondary cases. The other cases are considered endemic or with an unknown importation status, although it is likely that for most of the cases announced in Switzerland, there is a hidden importation. Out of the 3 proven cases of importation, 2 came from Italy and 1 from Thailand," Adrien Kay, spokesman for the FOPH, which is part of the Swiss Federal Department of Home Affairs, said.

    According to Rospotrebnadzor, measles cases were registered in 14 European countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Switzerland and Sweden. The highly contagious virus was able to spread to these nations due to the low immunity of their populations, the watchdog explained.

    Kay added that as of April 26, Switzerland had announced 70 cases of measles since the beginning of 2017.

    "The Federal Office of Public Health recommends a combined vaccine against measles, rubella and mumps," he added.

    Measles is a highly contagious and potentially fatal disease which is a leading cause of death among young children. In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) registered more than 134,000 measles deaths globally, most of which were in children under the age of five.

    Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe (162)


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