ibusinesslines.com September 19, 2018

Measles Cases Reach Record High In Europe

22 August 2018, 11:14 | Melissa Porter

GETTY MEASLES Europe has faced a reported record high number of measles cases this year

   MEASLES Europe has faced a reported record high number of measles cases this year

The UN agency's European office said more than 41,000 measles cases were reported in the region during the first half of the year - more than in all 12-month periods so far this decade.

"We are seeing a dramatic increase in infections and extended outbreaks", Dr. Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO regional director for Europe, said in a statement.

In Ireland there were 76 cases of measles reported by the middle of July compared to just one case for the same period past year.

Seven countries, including France, Georgia, Greece, Italy and Ukraine, have seen more than 1000 infections in children and adults this year alone.

Hardest hit with outbreaks has been Ukraine, with more than 23,000 affected.

The measles virus can spread quickly by coughing, sneezing or personal contact with infected nose or throat secretions.

At least 107 cases of the disease have been reported in 21 states this year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

People have been urged to check they are vaccinated. In 2017 for example the total number of cases was 23,927 and in 2016 the numbers were only 5,273.

Children and adults may have been exposed to an infectious case of measles.

"We would encourage people to ensure they are up to date with their MMR vaccine before travelling to countries with ongoing measles outbreaks, heading to large gatherings such as festivals, or before starting university", she said.

Early signs of measles include cold-like symptoms, sore eyes that may be sensitive to light, fever and small greyish-white spots on the inside of the cheeks.

Catching the disease is rare once immunized with the MMR vaccine, however, dubious allegations of side effects caused by the vaccination - such as causing autism - has resulted in some parents avoiding getting their children vaccinated.

A blotchy red rash will normally appear on the head or upper neck spreading towards the rest of the body. The vaccine offers a combination of protection from measles, mumps and rubella. England has seen 807 cases in the first half of this year.

Noting a particularly high level of mistrust in Europe against vaccinations, Dr Pauline Paterson of the London School of Tropical Medicine said: "The reasons for non-vaccination can vary from issues of vaccine access, a lack of perceived need to vaccinate, and concerns around the safety of vaccination - in 2016 the Vaccine Confidence Project found that the European region was the most skeptical in the world on vaccine safety".

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