Prague, May 2 (CTK) – More than 250 health care workers in Prague have been vaccinated against measles due to the rising incidence of this highly contagious disease and hundreds of others are to undergo an extraordinary vaccination, Prague Sanitary Station spokesman Zbynek Boublik told CTK on Wednesday.

This year, 103 cases of measles have been registered in the Czech Republic so far, mainly in Prague (70) and the surrounding Central Bohemia Region. Last year, 146 cases were reported, while in the previous years, the measles incidence was rare.

A part of the urgent reception ward had to be closed in the Prague-Motol Teaching Hospital over measles recently.

Sanitary officers are now preparing another round of vaccination that would apply up to 400 health care workers.

They also called on Prague paediatricians to focus on measles when examining child patients.

The measles incidence has been on the rise all over Europe.

Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease whose symptoms are fever, cough, inflamed eyes, a runny nose and later a rash that spreads all over the body.

The vaccination against measles is compulsory in the Czech Republic. It is part of a combined vaccine against measles, rubella and mumps.

Experts say 95 percent of the population needs to be vaccinated to secure collective immunity, but only about 90 percent of Czechs are vaccinated at present. The immunity gained through the vaccination may gradually weaken after 30 to 40 years.

The vaccine against measles has been applied in the country since 1969 and no death caused by measles has been registered since 1980. Before the vaccination started, about 50,000 cases of measles were registered in the country a year.

Kindergartens do not accept children who were not vaccinated and the parents face a fine for avoiding vaccination of their offspring.

In the countries without a vaccination programme, measles is a life-threatening disease and one of the most common causes of death of children under five years of age.