İstanbul sees deaths from measles as cases surge: medical chamber

Photo: İstanbul Medical Chamber

İstanbul is experiencing a surge in measles cases as well as a number of deaths from the viral infection, according to the İstanbul Medical Chamber (İTO).

İTO board members Dr. Saffet Ercan, Dr. Esin Tuncay , Dr. Ayşen Yavru and Dr. Özden Güngör held a press conference on Tuesday and called on authorities to take steps to prevent the spread of measles. 

The board asked the health ministry to disclose the number of measles cases and deaths from the infection and to focus on raising awareness and building confidence among people who eschew vaccinations as well as improving vaccination programs.

İstanbul is experiencing a measles epidemic, and children should be vaccinated to protect against the disease, the doctors said. 

Measles has been reported in 17 countries of the World Health Organization’s European Region since the start of 2023, with more than 900 cases reported by the end of February, exceeding the number reported for all of 2022, according to the WHO.

The largest number of measles cases was registered in Tajikistan (610), Turkey (466) and Russia (414) between April 2022 and April 2023, the WHO said.

In 2021, a record high of nearly 40 million children globally missed a measles-containing vaccine dose: 25 million children missed their first dose and an additional 14.7 million children missed their second dose.

Countries in the region have been conducting catch-up vaccination campaigns on varied scales during the past year to identify and vaccinate children who have missed their routine doses, including of measles-containing vaccines, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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