Four European countries stripped of 'measles-free' status ― WHO

Henrietta Strickland
August 30, 2019

In a report issued today, the United Nations health agency said the number of measles cases from January to June this year is double the number reported for the same period in 2018.

Urging the European countries to step up vaccination efforts, World Health Organization yesterday said based on the 2018 data, measles is no longer considered eradicated in the UK, Greece, the Czech Republic and Albania.

Countries are declared measles-free when there is no endemic transmission for 12 months in a specific geographic area.

German government backs mandatory vaccinations for all schoolchildren Those outbreaks have largely been among children in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community whose parents have refused to vaccinate them.

"Each of these countries are examples that have extremely high national vaccination coverage". "We are backsliding, we are on the wrong track", said Kate O'Brien of the WHO's Immunization Department.

Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a viral infection.

Some 60 per cent of patients in Europe in the first half of 2019 were under the age of 19.

Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Georgia, and Russian Federation accounted for 78% of all cases, with 60% of the cases in Ukraine alone. However, Austria and Switzerland attained elimination status for at least the past 36 months.

"WHO has increased its attention on measles elimination and updated its action".

The RVC found that by the end of 2018, 35 countries were considered to have achieved or sustained measles elimination, compared to 37 in 2017. Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) activated a Grade 2 emergency response to measles circulation in the Region, which allows the agency to mobilise the needed human and financial resources to support the affected countries.

For the first time because the World Health Organization started a European confirmation procedure in 2012, four nations in the area have dropped their measles elimination standing.

The biggest outbreaks are raging in the Democratic Republic of Congo (155 460 cases), Madagascar (127 454) and Ukraine (54 246), it said.

A new report released by the World Health Organization shows that the fight against measles in Europe is on a downward slide. Before the vaccine, contracting the measles was regarded "as inevitable as death and taxes".

The disease had been officially eliminated in many countries with advanced health care systems, with numbers steadily decreasing until 2016 when a resurgence began.

In March, Facebook said it would reduce the rankings of groups and pages that spread misinformation about vaccines and would reject ads that spread false information about vaccines.

The movement - driven by fraudulent claims linking the MMR vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella, to a risk of autism in children - has increasingly gained traction.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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