Measles and whooping cough: new outbreaks worry in Europe

Measles and whooping cough are two infectious diseases that have historically been the subject of concern and attention in the field of public health. This is due to its ability to cause significant flare-ups and, in some cases, serious complications. Currently, outbreaks of these diseases are worrying on the continent.

Sick kid

New outbreaks of measles and whooping cough cause concern in Europe

The recent increase in whooping cough cases in Guadalajara and Lleida, along with the resurgence of measles in several European nations, underlines the crucial importance of keeping children’s vaccination plan up to date, according to the Spanish Association of Vaccinology (AEV).

Although the situation in Spain is not alarming, in 2023, 1,942 cases of whooping cough were reported in the country. At the same time, measles is under control in Spain. So far, fifteen cases have been registered in the country: seven imported and eight indigenous.

According to the annual report of the National Center for Epidemiology, in 2023 there were 11 cases, all imported or related to close contacts. Although there is a change in trend, the current situation does not seem serious and is far from what is happening in other countries such as the United Kingdom and Romania, where there are outbreaks in areas that lack vaccination.

Measles and whooping cough

Whooping cough

Whooping cough, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious bacterial infection caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis. It mainly affects the respiratory tract and is characterized by prolonged episodes of violent coughing. They are often accompanied by a high-pitched sound when inhaling.

The symptoms of this illness generally begin similarly to a common cold, with nasal congestion, sneezing, and a mild cough. However, as the process progresses, the cough becomes more severe.

It can even be intense enough to cause vomiting, difficulty breathing, as well as seizures. In infants and young children, whooping cough can be especially dangerous, leading to serious complications such as pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, and even death.

Vaccination is essential to prevent it. It is usually given in combination with vaccines against other diseases, such as tetanus and diphtheria.


Measles is another highly contagious disease caused by the measles virus (MV). It is also a vaccine-preventable disease, but remains a problem in many parts of the world.

In this case, symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, red and watery eyes, and a characteristic rash that begins on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. Although most people recover completely from measles, it is a disease that can cause serious complications, including pneumonia, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), blindness, and, in extreme cases, death.

The measles vaccine, usually administered as part of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine, is highly effective in preventing the disease. However, to achieve herd immunity and prevent outbreaks, it is crucial that a large proportion of the population is vaccinated.

Both whooping cough and measles are serious infectious diseases that are largely preventable through vaccination. Maintaining high vaccination rates and public awareness of the importance of vaccination are essential to control the spread of these diseases and protect the health of the community as a whole.

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