WHO warns of soaring rates of measles in Europe

(BBC) – Europe has seen a massive surge in measles cases in 2017, which the World Health Organization says is a tragedy after a record low of 5,273 cases in 2016.

Cases increased by 400%, with more than 20,000 people affected and 35 deaths.

Fifteen European region countries, including the UK, had large outbreaks. Measles cases were highest in Romania, Italy and Ukraine.

People shunning vaccination is part of the problem, say experts.

Although research published in 2004 about a possible link between the MMR vaccine and autism has been discredited, the scare it created damaged some people’s trust of the vaccine.

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be deadly.

The MMR vaccine can prevent it.

The WHO says there have been declines in overall routine immunisation coverage, as well as consistently low coverage among some marginalised groups and interruptions in vaccine supply or underperforming disease surveillance systems.

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