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Measles in Netherlands

19 Jun 2013

An outbreak of measles has been reported among the population of the Dutch Bible Belt (DBB) of the Netherlands. Around 30 cases have occurred in orthodox Protestant schools in an area that stretches from the Veluwe area, Gelderland province in the central eastern part of the  country to Zeeland province in the south west. The religious beliefs of orthodox Protestants in the DBB does not allow vaccination of children.

The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment is monitoring the situation closely and expects the spread of measles to widen among unvaccinated children. Parents of unvaccinated children are encouraged to attend for MMR vaccination.

The last measles outbreak in the Netherlands was during 1999-2000 when 3300 cases, including 3 deaths were reported.

Advice for Travellers

It should be confirmed that children have received their recommended doses of MMR at 12-15 months of age and again pre-school around 3 years 6 months, while unimmunised adults who have not had the disease themselves may consider vaccination if thought to be at risk. Two doses of MMR vaccine are required to give adequate protection.