European measles cases highest in a decade as pockets refuse vaccination

08 February, 2019, 11:41 | Author: Jerome Frank
  • An informational sign about the measles is posted in the entrance of the Kaiser Permanente Cascade P

The number of people contracting measles in 2018 across Europe was the highest number for a decade, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.

World Health Organization said the historic annual figure was three times higher than that of 2017 and 15 times greater than the record low reported in 2016.

Meanwhile, Ukraine had the highest rate of measles cases in Europe, at 1,209 per one million population - 10 times the country's rate in 2017.

As of Wednesday, the Clark County Public Health Department had confirmed 50 cases of meales since January 1.

The secretary general of the ministry of health told CNN that more than 50,000 people have caught the disease since October 2018 and there have been more than 300 deaths - mostly children.

This represents a 74 per cent increase from 2018.

The Oregon Legislature will likely take a look at ways to tighten the state's immunization rules in the wake of the Pacific Northwest measles outbreak, Brown said, although she didn't point to any specific proposal.

In NSW there have been 11 cases of Measles since Christmas.

The most serious complications from severe measles include blindness, encephalitis (an infection that causes brain swelling), diarrhoea and dehydration, and severe respiratory infections, according to WHO.

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The case prompted NSW Health to urge people travelling to South East Asia to ensure they are fully vaccinated before heading overseas. Concern over the vaccine can be traced back to a 1998 paper by former doctor Andrew Wakefield, who falsely linked the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to autism.

Measles is considered to be highly contagious; the virus can linger in the air for two hours after an infected person is in the room, and people may be contagious without knowing that they are infected, according to the CDC.

Gaps in vaccination coverage, complacency about the disease and a resistance by some parents to have their children immunised has been blamed for the concerning rise in infections.

Advocates on both sides of the childhood vaccines debate are expected to attend.

Of those, 72 cases killed the infected.

Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO regional director for Europe, said: "The picture for 2018 makes it clear that the current pace of progress in raising immunisation rates will be insufficient to stop measles circulation". The highest infection rates were in Eastern Europe and Israel, while France and Italy reported much higher rates than other Western European countries.

In 34 of the countries, estimated coverage with a second dose of measles vaccine was below 95 per cent.

The agency said it will continue working to improve vaccination rates.

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