Greece’s Panhellenic Medical Association on Friday warned of a need for action to protect healthcare professionals from a measles epidemic currently sweeping the country and ensure they are properly immunised against the disease.
“In this way, they will not only protect themselves but also the patients that they come into contact with,” the announcement noted.
The announcement was made after the Centre for the Control and Prevention of Diseases (KEELPNO) revealed that a doctor and a nurse at state hospitals were among the recorded cases and had not been vaccinated or were incompletely vaccinated against this potentially fatal disease.
Another six employees also caught the measles at Thriasio hospital between August 4 and September 3, all of them lightly. According to the hospital, all six have recovered and can no longer infect either staff or patients, while there have been no other incidents since.
The medical association advised the immediate immunisation of all children, teenagers and adults that have not received the required two doses of the measles vaccine that are needed to provide full protection.
While the epidemic is underway, the association recommends that the first dose be given at 12 months and the second dose three months after the first – except in high risk cases when it can be administered after a minimum of four weeks.
Among those at most at risk are pregnant women and patients with a depressed immune system, who cannot be given the vaccine because it contains a live though weaker version of the virus, it added.