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Measles poses growing threat to Europe

Friday February 8th, 2019

The numbers infected with measles across Europe trebled last year despite improvements in immunisation rates, it has been announced.

The outbreaks led to 72 deaths of children and adults from measles across the continent, the World Health Organisation reported.

In total 47 countries reported that 82,596 people were infected, the highest number this decade, WHO reported. Six countries did not report any cases. This was three times the number reported in 2017 and 15 times the number reported in 2016.

WHO said progress in immunisation was not yet reflected in reductions in rates. 95% of children had their first dose of vaccine and 90% had their second dose on time.

However, this meant that 34 countries had failed to achieve 95% coverage of the second dose, the level necessary to achieve herd immunity.

Regional director Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab 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.

"While data indicate exceptionally high immunisation coverage at regional level, they also reflect a record number affected and killed by the disease. This means that gaps at local level still offer an open door to the virus."

Tags: Child Health | Europe | Flu & Viruses

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