Four cases of measles have been reported in Iceland in recent days, making this the most serious outbreak in decades, RÚV reports. An adult passenger on an Icelandair flight from the Philippines carried the virus and managed to infect three others on the same plane, one adult and two children under the age of 18 months, which is the normal age of vaccination in Iceland.
As Iceland Review reported last Monday, an 11 month old child was infected on the fateful flight, but was then hoped to be the only one. Now it has become apparent that two others are infected.
Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason says that about 90 to 95 of Icelanders are vaccinated against measles and considers it unlikely that a epidemic of the virus will occur due to so-called herd immunity. Cases of measles are reportedly on the rise in Europe.
Measles is a highly contagious virus that can travel by air and touch. Early symptoms are similar to the common flu, fever, nasal congestion, coughing, inflamed eyes, headache and swollen glands. Three or four days after the start of symptoms a rash spreads over the body, the telltale sign of measles.
The National University Hospital of Iceland has released a statement on their Facebook site explaining that unvaccinated children under the age of 18 months are especially sensitive to the virus. They don’t see reason for parents to have children without symptoms checked, but advice anyone who suspects having contracted the virus to call the number 1700, where nurses can be consulted around the clock.