by Maria Spiliopoulou
ATHENS, Sept. 22 (Xinhua)-- Greece is facing a measles outbreak this year with 166 reported cases until September 21, the national Centre for the Control and Prevention of Diseases (KEELPNO) announced on Friday.
Most cases, according to the data provided, concern Roma children, and people aged 25-44, including healthcare professionals who were not properly immunized against the disease.
The spike in measles cases has raised concern, since the average rate in Greece has stood at about one infection per year for several years.
KEELPNO underlined that since 2016 more than 14,000 cases have been reported across Europe, including 43 deaths of complications.
Among possible complications caused by measles are pneumonia and encephalitis, while the disease is highly contagious, experts warned, urging for the vaccination of people at risk who have not been vaccinated or have been incompletely vaccinated.
The 90 percent of minors in Greece is vaccinated against the disease, Health Minister Andreas Xanthos told a press briefing, adding that the rate drops to 50 percent among Roma children.
In order to avoid a wider epidemic, the authorities have stepped up efforts to vaccinate minors in Roma camps.