World Health Organization reports 400% increase in measles cases in 2017

Europe observes a 400% increase in measles cases in 2017 compared to previous year

Global health chiefs have calculated that there has been a 400 per cent rise in the number of measles across Europe in the past year. A Region-wide midterm EVAP progress report will be presented at the 68th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe in September 2018. Of the people diagnosed in Europe, 35 died of the disease, which struck hardest in Romania, Italy, and Ukraine. The numbers stunned officials after a record low of 5,200 cases in 2016.

The WHO Regional Office for Europe has released new data for 2017 ahead of a health ministerial meeting on immunisation in Montenegro on Tuesday.

"Over 20,000 cases of measles, and 35 lives lost in 2017 alone, are a tragedy we simply can not accept".

An ongoing outbreak in the Limerick area is now being investigated by the Measles Outbreak Control Team.

The worst recent year in the United States was 2014, when there were 667 cases of measles. "Travelers with measles continue to bring the disease into the U.S. Measles can spread when it reaches a community in the U.S. where groups of people are unvaccinated".

To prevent further outbreaks, a single MMR vaccine can be administered. Had MMR vaccination levels exceeded 95 per cent of the target population, measles may well have been eradicated by now.


But social media has helped spread incorrect information about vaccine effectiveness and safety. Vaccination rates fell from 90 percent in 2010 to 85 percent in 2015.

If people are unsure of their vaccination status they are advised to get an MMR vaccine, as even if they do have 2 doses of MMR a third dose is not harmful.

It is anxious about that the number of cases has jumped from 5,273 in 2016 to 21,315 in 2017, resulting in 35 deaths.

The surge in measles cases in 2017 included large outbreaks (100 or more cases) in 15 of the 53 countries in the Region.

In Ireland, the latest figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) show that in the first six weeks of this year, there have been 28 reported cases of measles.

Despite the increases in Europe, WHO says vaccination against measles is a success story.

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