GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — Switzerland has registered two deaths from measles this year, health authorities said Thursday, stressing the importance of vaccinating against the highly contagious disease.
The health ministry warned that the number of measles cases was on the rise this year, with 155 people infected, including two who had died.
A man in his thirties, who had never been vaccinated against the disease, died after being infected by a family member, it said.
He had received the vaccination 67 hours after being exposed to the virus.
But “this post-exposure vaccination came too late: he developed measles,” the health ministry said, adding that he died at home shortly after the first symptoms appeared.
A second man, in his 70s, whose immune system had been weakened by cancer, had meanwhile died shortly after developing pneumonia brought on by measles, it said, adding that it was unclear how he had been infected.
The ministry recalled that the measles vaccine is highly recommended, pointing out that it protects not only the person who receives the jab, but also people too weak to be vaccinated themselves, and halts the spread of the virus.
The announcement came as concern grows over the impact of anti-vaccination stigma, amid a significant hike in measles cases worldwide.
The World Health Organization said last month that cases of the disease had soared 300 percent globally since the beginning of the year, and sounded the alarm over slipping vaccination rates.
© Agence France-Presse