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Measles Not Being Reported
11 April 2011
Deutsches Aerzteblatt International
Measles is not always being reported in Germany as required by law, particularly when cases are sporadic. In this edition of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2011; 108: 191–6), Annedore Mette’s working group presents its conclusions.
The WHO aims to eliminate measles in Europe by 2015. The criteria for this are for there to be no measles cases among the country’s inhabitants, and for any measles arriving from abroad not to spread any further within the country, as a result of the high vaccination rate and compulsory reporting. In their study, Annedore Mette and her coauthors analyzed and evaluated data on measles diagnoses among individuals covered by statutory health insurance. Their goal was to determine the ratio between billed measles diagnoses and data gathered according to Germany’s Law on Protection Against Infectious Diseases in North Rhine–Westphalia. The results confirmed that measles was being under-reported. Possible reasons cited by physicians when asked why measles cases were not being reported as required by law included forgetting, lack of habit, uncertainty about the duty to report, lack of time, and complexity.
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Credit: DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY Caption: Measles rash on a 19 year old woman's back. Measles, also known as morbilli or rubeola, is a highly infectious airborne viral disease. It mainly affects children, but can occur at any age and the adult form is more severe. An attack usually gives lifelong immunity. After an incubation period (8- 15 days), flu-like symptoms develop, accompanied by fever. Four days later, a red rash appears that lasts 3-5 days. Complications include ear and chest infections, diarrhoea and vomiting. Recovery takes 2-4 weeks. Treatment includes drinking lots of fluids and rest. Vaccination against measles provides effective immunity. - © This image is for illustration only and subject to copyright and may not be used or copied in any way without prior permission from Science Photo Library http://www.sciencephoto.com