Measles infections hit decade high in Europe

08 February, 2019, 11:39 | Author: Sue Riley
  • Luke Tanner 7 receives the combined Measles Mumps and Rubella vaccination at a drop-in clinic at Neath Port Talbot Hospital near Swansea in south Wales

Health officials attributed the trend to declining rates of vaccination and people contracting the disease during travel to European countries such as Romania and Italy. It's so contagious that it can live in an air space for two hours. It causes a range of symptoms including fever, cough and a rash. Children are most susceptible to the risks.

In Clark County, Washington - where about 50 people have been infected since the outbreak started - more than 6 times as many people were vaccinated for measles from January 13 to February 2 compared to the same period past year, according to a spokesperson for Washington State Department of Health.

This represents a 74 per cent increase from 2018. The Eastern European nation had more than 53,218 cases.

So far in the USA this year, about 80 cases of measles have been reported, with two outbreaks ongoing in Washington and NY states.

Washington state Rep. Paul Harris (R-Vancouver) has introduced a measurethat would remove personal belief exemptions for the MMR vaccine.

The highest incidence of measles infection was seen in Ukraine, where there were 1209 measles cases per 1 million people in 2018.

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).

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"In adopting EVAP, all countries in the European Region agreed that elimination of measles and rubella is possible, and is also a cost-effective way to protect people of all ages from avoidable suffering and death", says Dr Nedret Emiroglu, Director of the Division of Health Emergencies and Communicable Diseases, WHO Regional Office for Europe. Other collected outbreaks of highly and deadly contagious, but vaccine-preventable diseases are turning exasperatingly routine across the country.

Canada has been free of endemic measles since 1998, meaning the virus isn't constantly present.

Graham said that "patient zero" is not a term the Health Department even uses. If people aren't vaccinated, the virus can spread easily. In countries reporting hospitalization data, almost 2/3 (61%) of measles cases were hospitalized.

But he's hearing from doctors and pediatricians that people are coming in to be vaccinated - including children whose parents, up to now, have been hesitant.

The Oregon Legislature will likely take a look at ways to tighten the state's immunization rules in the wake of the Pacific Northwest measles outbreak, Brown said, although she didn't point to any specific proposal.

"I think "patchwork" is a good word to use to describe it", said Vinita Dubey, associate medical officer of health with Toronto Public Health.

The wave of infections came despite record vaccinations across Europe in 2017. There have been calls in recent years for Canada to start a national registry to help officials keep better track of vaccination rates.

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