VILNIUS – Lithuania's first three measles cases this year have been registered in the port city of Klaipeda, the National Public Health Center (NPHC) said on Friday.
All the cases were children aged between 4 and 12 years who had not been vaccinated with the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, it said.
According to the center, the highest incidence of measles in the country in the last decade was recorded in 2019, with 834 registered cases of the infectious disease.
Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, measles was diagnosed in two individuals. No cases were reported in 2021 and 2022.
According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, 1,331 measles cases were reported in 19 countries in Europe between January and September this year.
The NPHC notes that the drop in measles vaccination coverage to 90 percent during the pandemic, not only in Lithuania but also in other European countries, allowed measles to spread to unvaccinated children and adults.
Experts emphasize that achieving a 95 percent vaccination rate among the population is crucial to control measles. Otherwise, there is a real threat of measles outbreaks not only among children but also among adults.