European Measles Cases Quadrupled in 2017


European Measles Cases Quadrupled in 2017

Measles cases across Europe increased by 400% in 2017 with more than 20,000 people affected and 35 deaths.

It's now uncommon in the United Kingdom because of high vaccination rates although previous year there were 282 cases of the disease recorded in the United Kingdom, according to WHO.

"Over 20 000 cases of measles, and 35 lives lost in 2017 alone, are a tragedy we simply can not accept". More than 21,000 cases of the extremely contagious illness were reported, including about 5,000 in Romania, Italy and Ukraine. According to the World Health Organization, this may be down to "declines in overall routine immunization coverage, consistently low coverage among some marginalized groups, interruptions in vaccine supply or underperforming disease surveillance systems".

"This short-term setback can not deter us from our commitment to be the generation that frees our children from these diseases once and for all".

The spokesperson said: "If people are unsure of their vaccination status they are advised to get an MMR vaccine, as even if they do have 2 doses of MMR a third dose is not harmful". (These figures are for people who have received two doses of the vaccine.) Parents have been refusing the vaccine-which hasn't been reliably available anyway, Reuters reported in July.

The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is effective in the prevention of the disease and is administered during childhood, however, the vaccine has also encountered negative publicity as a result of, now discredited, research claiming a link between the vaccine and autism, leading to a number of people in the USA and Europe refusing to be vaccinated. Disruptions in vaccine supplies and low vaccination rates in marginalized communities also contributed to the outbreaks.

Malta was declared measles and rubella-free in the 2016 report (covering 2015) and has maintained that situation due to its strong immunisation programme.

Measles symptoms include a runny nose, sneezing and cough, sore, red eyes, a high temperature and, after a few days, a red-brown blotchy rash.

Dr Rose Fitzgerald, a specialist in public health, said that until they go a couple of weeks without any new cases of measles they must remain vigilant.

Every un-immunised person, regardless of their age, is at risk of contracting the disease, especially in countries with low immunisation rates.



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