Measles cases in Europe tripled past year, World Health Organization says

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In light of measles data for the year 2018 released today, World Health Organization urges European countries to target their interventions to those places and groups where immunization gaps persist.

According to newly released data for the year, 82,596 people were infected and 72 people (children and adults) died from measles last year.

Some media outlets have reported that "patient zero" was from another country. It was publicized earlier that the disease was eradicated in the U.S.in 2000 but has ever since made a return that is attached to imported cases and the growth of the anti-vaccine movement.

More than 82,000 people in the European region - an area stretching from Russian Federation to Iceland and south to Malta - caught measles in 2018, the most infections in the past decade, the agency said in an emailed statement.

Under the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) of the DOH, the first dose of the MMR vaccine is administered to children aged between 9 and 11 months old while the second dose is given at age 12-15 months old.

In many countries, anti-vaccine campaigners seek to dissuade parents from getting their children immunised, despite strong scientific evidence that vaccines are safe and effective.

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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". Fifty cases of the highly contagious disease were in Washington State. "We can not achieve healthier populations globally, as promised in WHO's vision for the coming five years, if we do not work locally". Health officials are not providing information about this individual in order to protect their privacy. Most children recover quickly with no lasting effects.

As part of the study, the investigators identified hotspots around the United States now at risk of measles outbreaks due to a declining rate of measles mumps rubella (MMR) vaccination coverage. Forty-two patients were not immunized against the virus, while health officials had not verified the immunization status of six patients.

As the count of people with measles climbs toward 50, Clark County Public Health announced a short reprieve. Some of them also managed to limit the spread of the virus following importation to very few cases in 2017 and 2018, showing that elimination of the disease is well within reach for the whole Region. However, it can not make us blind to the people and places that are still being missed.

Many factors contribute to suboptimal immunization coverage and the spread of measles. "The recommended two doses of the measles vaccine provide even greater protection - 97 percent".

Similar outbreaks have been occurring in Europe: In 2017, there were 25,863 cases of measles; past year, that surged to more than 82,000.

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