- Associated Press - Friday, March 10, 2017

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) - Thousands of people have caught measles in an ongoing outbreak that has caused 17 deaths in Romania, the health minister said Friday.

Florian Bodog said that around 3,400 people had contracted the disease since the outbreak began in September 2016. He said the virus was similar to strains found in Hungary or Italy, but couldn’t say whether it was the same one.

Romania has lowered the age for administering the first vaccine dose from the usual 12 months to nine months, recommending all children under 9 are vaccinated.

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control warned this week that “the likelihood of exportation of measles (from Romania) cases is high.”

Most cases have been registered in western and southwestern Romania.

In neighboring Hungary, there was no threat of a national epidemic after Hungarian health officials reported 31 suspected cases of measles, said Beatrix Oroszi, head of the National Center for Epidemiology.

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