This epidemic which worries before the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris

This epidemic which worries before the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris

The resurgence of measles cases is worrying. Although the figures are not higher than what the country experienced before the Covid-19 pandemic, a potential importation of cases from Eastern countries worries the health authorities, as the Olympic Games approach and Paris Paralympics.

Public Health Europe warns of the resurgence of measles cases in 2023. In its annual report, the health authority indicates that it has identified 117 cases compared to 15 in 2022 or 16 in 2021. The figures are, however, not higher than what was reported knew the country before the Covid-19 pandemic. Another reassuring fact: no deaths have been recorded to date.

Concern from health authorities about the importation of cases

Due to the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games, health authorities remain concerned, fearing the risk of importing cases, particularly from Eastern countries (Russia and Romania in particular).

Already in 2023, the country was faced with “a notable increase in imported cases” with 31 cases compared to 5 in 2022. More than half were unvaccinated people, which allowed the spread via “chains of transmission on the territory”. In total, seven epidemic outbreaks were recorded. The largest was in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, with 64 cases recorded between August and November.

A rapid development which worries Public Health Europe, which recalls that until now, “in Europe, since the last measles epidemic in 2018-2019 which was interrupted in 2020 concomitantly with the Covid-19 pandemic, the measles virus has circulated very little, causing a few isolated sporadic cases” only.

A contagious viral disease, measles can cause serious complications

Measles is a viral disease, which particularly affects children but not only. Very contagious, it is often benign but can cause serious complications, particularly respiratory and neurological.

When asked, Dr. Gérald Kierzek recalls “the importance of vaccination against this disease, which is not eradicated“. It is moreover this distrust regarding vaccination against measles – and subsequently the drop in vaccination coverage around the world – which explains this resurgence of cases.

Vaccination, the only effective protection against the disease

Faced with this situation, the Directorate General of Health, through its director, Dr Grégory Emery, is calling for “reinforced vigilance”.

Any clinically suggestive case (including before biological results) must be reported without delay to the regional focal point of the Regional Health Agency.” he recalls, before emphasizing the action to be taken when dealing with an infected patient and the importance of vaccination, the only effective protection against this virus.

In Europe, vaccination against measles has been compulsory for infants since 2018. According to Public Health Europe, the objective of 95% coverage at the age of 2 should be “soon reached”. The health authority is also rather positive on this point, considering that “in recent years, vaccination coverage against measles, mumps and rubella has improved significantly“.