Measles cases detected in Brussels

Measles cases detected in Brussels

BRUSSELS: Measles virus found in wastewater Photo credit: CC/Ank Kumar

INVESTIGATORS have detected the presence of the measles virus in Brussels’ wastewater.

Following European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) warnings on February 16  that measles cases were increasing, Catholic University of Leuven  (KU Leuven) researchers collected wastewater samples in Leuven as well as Brussels North and Brussels South.

“We have been researching wastewater for three years and were able to start straight away,” Elke Wollant. laboratory manager at KU Leuven’s Rega Institute, told the VRT broadcaster.

Leuven and Brussels South gave negative results but the team found the measles virus in three consecutive samples from Brussels North.

The investigators also found that the measles traces in the sewage were not the result of measles vaccination, but a natural infection that indicated an increase in the virus in Brussels.

“Through the Public Health Institute Sciensano, we know that there are six positive cases in Brussels,” Wollant explained.

“If we detect the measles virus in the sewage of a city with a million inhabitants, that means that several infections will probably have gone under the radar,” she said, before adding that vaccination was the “only protection” against the virus.

Meanwhile, the health authorities confirmed that there were 14 cases of children with measles in the Netherlands city of Eindhoven and the surrounding area, as well as one adult. All were unvaccinated, the health service said.

According to the ECDC communique, the virus has been responsible for the deaths of  six people in Romania and one in Ireland in 2024.

“Cases are expected to continue increasing in the coming months due to sub-optimal vaccination coverage for measles in a number of European countries,” the ECDC said on February 16.

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at