Crissier, Vaud, Switzerland (24 Heures, Fre) – The Ecole Rudolf Steiner near Lausanne Tuesday reported 17 cases of measles to the cantonal doctor’s office, bringing to 22 the number of cases reported in two days, according to 24 Heures. Dr Eric Masserrey, who heads the office responsible for overseeing epidemics, called the outbreak “unprecedented” as his team moved into action to control the spread of the potentially deadly disease. A previously healthy 12-year-old French girl died 29 January of encephalitis, a complication provoked by measles, at the University Hospitals (HUG) in Geneva.
Health authorities are now checking with students to see who they may have had contact with in recent days to alert these people. The health department is also checking to see why the students’ doctors appear not to have reported the cases promptly, as required by Swiss law. Students are allowed to attend school in Switzerland if they have not been vaccinated, but if they are found to have been exposed to the highly infectious viral disease they will be told to stay home for 21 days. The same applies to adults and work.
Switzerland has been affected by measles outbreaks more than most European countries in recent years because of the relatively low level of vaccinations.
Background: GenevaLunch in-depth report on vaccinations and measles, including interview with Geneva Dr Claire-Anne Siegrist, Swiss specialist on epidemics and measles, “Red spots alert!” 4 April 2008
Measles epidemic reaches Vaud, 14 March 2008, GenevaLunch
Swiss federal public health site information page in French on measles