Measles infections hit decade high in Europe

Measles infections hit decade high in Europe

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

Dr. Alan Melnick, Public Health Director and Clark County Health Officer, said that two major factors are causing the outbreak.

Ukraine recorded the highest number of measles cases in Europe in 2018, at 53,218.

The Five Star Movement in Italy had been active in pushing conspiracy theories and campaigning against vaccines, though it seemed to change tack when measles infection rates soared a year ago.

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

The disease, which is most common in young children, leads to symptoms including a high fever and white spots inside the mouth before developing into the "measles rash".


One explanation for the reversal of the previous trend of measles infection rates falling is the influence of anti-vaccine campaigners who have sought to discourage parents from immunising their children in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence that vaccines are both effective and safe. Most importantly, at least 95% of every population needs to be immune, through two doses of vaccination or prior exposure to the virus, to ensure community protection for everyone - including babies too young to be vaccinated and others who can not be immunized due to existing diseases and medical conditions. Joan Robinson, a pediatric infectious diseases physician and editor of the Paediatrics & Child Health Journal, said that outbreaks often occur in small communities where children aren't vaccinated. This is consistent with testing from the first known case (a child) from this outbreak in WA.

In Italy, the co-ruling anti-establishment Five Star Movement has questioned the safety of some vaccines and loudly denounced efforts to make vaccinations mandatory.

The total number of infections last year is 15 times higher than the record low just two years ago, and three times higher than the total reported in 2017. Of those, 72 cases were fatal.

As stated by to the state health department, orders for two types of measles medicines in Clark County increased by nearly 500 percent in January compared with the same month previous year, from 530 doses to 3,150.

Ninety-two percent of the cases were reported by 10 countries: Ukraine (53,218), Serbia (5,076), Israel (2,919), France (2,913), Italy (2,517), Russian Federation (2,256), Georgia (2,203), Greece (2,193), Albania (1,466) and Romania (1,987).

The Regional Office continues to work with countries in the Region to enhance their immunization and disease surveillance systems.

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