Measles on the rise again in Europe

Measles on the rise again in Europe

Became aware that Ukraine previous year took third place in the European Union in the rating, which calculates the number of cases of measles.

This post originally appeared on the blog of data firm Statista and is republished here with permission.

Other countries with large outbreaks included Italy (5,006), Germany (927), France (520) and the United Kingdom (282).

Lower rates of vaccination may have been behind the spike, the organization stated.

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The announcement came ahead of a meeting of health ministers to discuss how to achieve goals set out in the European Vaccine Action Plan.

Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a viral infection. "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".

Despite this, the World Health Organization reports that multiple actions are being taken across Europe to stop the current outbreaks and prevent future ones, including public awareness campaigns, immunising healthcare professionals and other adults at particular risk, addressing challenges in access, and improving supply planning and logistics.

Before the emergence of vaccines in the early 1960s, measles killed about 2.6 million people a year with major epidemics striking every two to three years.

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This fear could be attributed to disgraced gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield's theory in 1995 that the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is linked to bowel disease and autism. As for the number of people who are not lucky enough to get measles in Europe, the figure is 21 315 people.

It is also not necessarily that obvious - measles can be transmitted by an infected person at any stage from four days prior to the onset of the rash, to four days after it appears.

The HSE said in most cases those who contracted measles had not taken up the vaccine - something which experts say is driving the current surge in cases. Vaccination rates fell from 90 percent in 2010 to 85 percent in 2015. "It is also thought that the country's large Roma population, who often live in severe poverty, are at particular risk of contracting and spreading the virus", the broadcaster added. The highest numbers of affected people were reported in Romania (5562), Italy (5006) and Ukraine (4767). All children should get MMR at 12 months of age and the second dose at 4-5 years of age.

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