Georgian gov’t drafts plans to contain measles outbreak in Georgia

Director of NCDC Amiran Gamkrelidze has called on the public to ensure they are vaccinated. Photo: Nino Alavidze/, 18 Jan 2019 - 13:35, Tbilisi,Georgia

An outbreak of the measles has prompted the Georgian government to draft a provisional response to containing the disease.

Director of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Amiran Gamkrelidze has called on the public to ensure they are vaccinated to avoid contracting the disease.

The vaccination will be free of charge for all citizens of Georgia starting from this evening, announced Georgian Health Minister David Sergeenko at a media briefing. Formerly, in some regions and for some age groups the vaccination cost was partly paid by the public.

Last year, three people died from the measles, while there 2000-2200 cases throughout the year, Gamkrelidze stated, adding that

"From the beginning of January, 312 cases of the disease have been identified... Measles is not a funny thing. It causes serious issues and can be fatal”.

He noted that the majority of those who contract the virus are in between 20-40 years of age, connecting this phenomenon to poor state medical management in the early years of Georgia’s independence.

Individuals who have never been vaccinated are at risk of contracting measles if they come into someone sick with the virus.

For this reason, Gamkrelidze has urged the population to get vaccinated in order to prevent the number of cases of measles from growing further. Georgia is well-stocked in terms of the availability of the vaccine, he noted.

Kakheti and Imereti have been the most affected by the outbreak, though measles has also been reported in Zugdidi and Adjara.