Health Care

Measles cases hit record high in Europe

Measles cases hit record high in Europe”

The UN agency's European office said more than 41,000 measles cases were reported in the region during the first half of the year - more than in all 12-month periods so far this decade.

The WHO's regional director for Europe, Zsuzsanna Jakab said in a statement, "We are seeing a dramatic increase in infections and extended outbreaks". Reports from individual European countries suggest that 37 people have died in 2018 from the disease, with 14 of those in Serbia, the World Health Organization said.

"Seven countries in the region have seen over 1,000 infections in children and adults this year (France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, the Russian Federation, Serbia and Ukraine)".

The Ukraine was the hardest hit, with more than 23,000 people affected.

The NHS states measles symptoms include sneezing, a cough, red eyes, high temperature and small greyish-white spots. In the United Kingdom there have been 828 confirmed cases of measles up...

People have been urged to check they are vaccinated.

The WHO said the highest annual total for measles cases since 2010 was recorded in 2017 when 23,927 cases were identified.

Some 58% of confirmed cases have been among children aged 15 and younger who did not have the MMR vaccine when they were younger. To prevent outbreaks, at least 95 per cent immunization coverage with 2 doses of measles-containing vaccine is needed every year in every community, as well as efforts to reach children, adolescents and adults who missed routine vaccination in the past. While European childhood vaccination rates increased slightly to 90 percent in 2017, large disparities remain at the local level, according to the WHO.

"A social movement of public health vaccine opposition has been growing in the United States in recent years; subsequently, measles outbreaks have also increased", pediatrician Dr. Peter Hotez and colleagues wrote in their report, published in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Medicine.

The number of measles cases varies greatly from year to year.

Professor Peter Openshaw, president of the British Society for Immunology, added: "There has been a safe and effective vaccine to protect against measles since 1968, which has revolutionised the health of our children and saved many lives".

"Children should routinely receive two vaccines against measles as part of the MMR vaccine, at one year of age and again as a pre-school booster (soon after the third birthday)".

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said it was greatly concerned and that it was a threat to maintaining elimination status.

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