17 Feb 2020 14:56

Measles incidence in Russia slightly up at end of 2019, still much lower than in some European countries - public health official

MOSCOW. Feb 17 (Interfax) - The number of measles cases recorded in Russia slightly grew at the end of 2019 but still remained significantly lower than in some European countries, Anna Popova, the head of the Russian consumer protection watchdog Rospotrebnadzor and chief public health official, said on Monday.

"We ended last year with 30 [measles] cases per million, which is slightly higher than a year before, but this figure was still between 2.3% and 16.6% of that recorded in a number of European countries," Popova said at parliamentary hearings at the State Duma.

Popova credited this low measles incidence rate in Russia to systemic medical and educational efforts being made at the government level.

"The growth in the number of measles cases recorded last year should be attributed chiefly to immigrants, with Moscow providing for several outbreaks in a row attributed precisely to immigrants," she said.

Popova said that, following those outbreaks, she issued a special directive introducing measures to contain the spread of measles, resulting in the inoculation of over one million people.

The inoculation of migrant workers in Russia is normally financed by their employers, Popova said. "We believe this is absolutely correct, and perhaps this requires some legislative regulation," she said.