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Measles epidemic

In May 2013 a measles epidemic broke out in The Netherlands that lasted until March 2014. The epidemic spread in particular in areas with a low vaccination uptake. These areas are –among others- inhabited by orthodox Protestant people. Some of them do not get vaccinated for religious reasons. The discussion about whether or not to vaccinate was given a lot of media attention.

A total of over 2,600 patients were registered with measles. The actual number of patients was probably higher as not all patients go to their GP. During the epidemic 182 children were admitted to hospital and one child died of complications from measles.

Extra vaccination

RIVM monitored the spread of measles (see map above) and kept in close contact with the municipal health services. In The Netherlands children are normally offered the first vaccinations against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR vaccination) when they are 14 months. During the epidemic, young children at increased risk of contracting measles were offered an extra vaccination against measles (MMR-0). This was offered to all children aged between 6 and 14 months who lived in municipalities where fewer than 90% of the children were vaccinated against measles. A total of over 6,000 children were given the extra vaccination. Please refer to the original graph showing data concerning the extra vaccination.

Further information