Anti-Vaccination Madness: Measles Return to Croatia

Total Croatia News

Due to lower vaccination rates, there is a danger of a wider epidemic.

The patient who was admitted to the Dubrovnik General Hospital on Friday has measles, it has been officially confirmed. He was not vaccinated and has recently returned from Kosovo, reports on May 29, 2018.

According to the hospital general manager, the man is a 34-year-old from Ston. He spent the past two and a half weeks in Kosovo and is suspected of being infected there. “A man with a high degree of suspected measles was hospitalized at the Dubrovnik General Hospital on Friday. He is in isolation, and all epidemiological measures have been taken,” said hospital general manager Marijo Bekić. Over the weekend, he said that the confirmation of the findings should be known on Tuesday. “The patient does not know if he has been vaccinated against measles, but we assume he has not,” Bekić said.

“I do not expect a measles epidemic, but I expect there to be sporadic cases. We have been calling on people to be vaccinated for months, and we know about the possible epidemic since October 2017. Everyone has had enough time to vaccinate their children. We cannot live in the 18th century when people used to die from measles. I really hope and believe that such situations will not occur now,” said a hospital representative.

However, the fear of an epidemic is more than justified. The vaccination rates in some part of southern Croatia are exceptionally low. In Dubrovnik, the rate fell to 40 percent, which is the lowest in the last few decades. For the collective immunity needed to prevent a rapid spread of the disease, it is necessary for the rate to be at least 93-95%. There are more than 2,200 unvaccinated children aged between one and six years living in Dubrovnik, which is a lot for a town of 40,000 inhabitants.

An epidemiologist from the Croatian Institute of Public Health Sanja Kurečić-Filipović said that the risk of measles virus infection exists continuously, and that is not something unexpected or unusual. “Neighbouring countries have many more measles cases, epidemics are continually present in Italy, Greece, Romania and Serbia, so the risk exists, and there is always a real chance that the disease will spread,” she said.

“We have a problem with pre-school children, where the national vaccination rate is below 95 percent. The situation varies among counties, so we invite all parents who have not vaccinated their children to do it now because that is the only way to prevent an epidemic,” she added.

Last year, 40,026 children were born in Croatia, and about 4,400 babies have not been vaccinated against measles. On the other hand, although parents and guardians are required by law to vaccinate children, the sanitary inspection managed to find only 19 non-vaccinated children in 2017. It filed misdemeanour reports again them and fined them with 2,000 kuna.

Translated from


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