Anti-vaxxers partly responsible for Europe's highest measles cases in a decade

Henrietta Strickland
February 8, 2019

In the United Kingdom, there were 953 measles cases past year. 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.

Europe had a record number of measles cases a year ago, in part due to a growing number of pockets where parents are refusing to vaccinate their children, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says.

While the majority of children in Donegal still receive the MMR vaccine, the numbers have been dropping slightly over the past few years. Measles can also cause pregnant women to give birth prematurely or deliver a low-birth weight baby.

Five of the cases involved young children, some of whom received one round of the two-part vaccine.

Denton County Public Health confirmed the case Wednesday and is working to identify and contact other people who may have been exposed.

The Portland area is an anti-vaccination hot spot, and state data show only about 77 percent of Clark County kindergarteners had completed their vaccinations for the 2017-2018 school year, far below the roughly 95 percent of people that health experts say should be vaccinated to create "herd immunity" against a contagious disease like measles.

Measles is caused by the measles virus, which can be spread through the air by coughing or sneezing. Here's what you need to know. One person had one dose of the vaccine, which is 93 percent effective.

Demand for measles vaccine has surged in Clark County, where the highly contagious virus is linked to more than 50 confirmed illnesses this year - including among people who had previously shunned the shots. The vaccine takes effect within 72 hours, health officials said.

On Wednesday, officials sent letters to families of 5,000 children in Multnomah County, telling them they'll be excluded from school if they don't have up-to-date immunizations or valid exemptions by February 20.

Washington is one of many states with non-medical exemptions.

"I think "patchwork" is a good word to use to describe it", said Vinita Dubey, associate medical officer of health with Toronto Public Health. "It has also raised an awareness that measles could easily make a comeback, and the only way to prevent that is to get as many people vaccinated as possible".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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