Public Health authorities are investigating three separate, unrelated, confirmed cases of measles, as precautions are taken to ensure these cases remain isolated.

In 2018, there were five imported cases and one case of local transmission. Since there was no sustained transmission, Malta has till now maintained the status of elimination of measles.

The Public Health Authority’s strategic action for measles includes vaccination, early identification of cases, isolation, management of cases, and contact tracing.

Measles cases primarily occur in unvaccinated populations in both adults and children.

Large outbreaks with fatalities are ongoing in many European countries that had previously eliminated or interrupted endemic transmission. In January 2019, Romania, Italy, Poland, and France had the highest case counts with 261, 165, 133, and 124 cases, respectively and notable increases were reported in Italy, Poland, France, and Austria.

Just 10 countries were responsible for three-quarters of a global surge in measles cases last year, the UN children's agency said recently.

Ninety-eight countries reported more cases of measles in 2018 compared with 2017, and the world body warned that conflict, complacency and the growing anti-vaccine movement threatened to undo decades of work to tame the disease.

But the World Health Organisation last year said cases worldwide had soared nearly 50% in 2018, killing around 136,000 people.

Measles can spread with minimal contact through the air via infectious droplets when a person coughs or sneezes. It can be prevented with vaccination with measles vaccine (part of the MMR) which is included in the National Immunisation Schedule.

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