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Europe: Losing Ground, with 4 Countries Losing “Measles Elimination” Status

30 Aug, 2019
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The number of measles cases in Europe is soaring, with four European countries — Britain, Greece, the Czech Republic, and Albania — losing their elimination status owing to measles outbreaks, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In the first six months of 2019, Europe saw 90,000 cases in 48 European countries, more than doubling last year’s total number. Close to 365,000 measles cases have been reported worldwide this year, the WHO said, almost three times as many as in the first half of 2018.

The number of measles cases in Europe is soaring, with four European countries — Britain, Greece, the Czech Republic, and Albania — losing their elimination status owing to measles outbreaks, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

In a report published 29 August, WHO said that in the first six months of 2019, cases of the highly contagious yet preventable disease climbed to nearly 90,000 in 48 European countries, more than doubling last year’s total number.

The New York Times reports that Nearly 80 percent of the cases were recorded in four countries through June: Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Georgia, and Russia.

Ukraine, which accounts for about 60 percent of the cases, is implementing a robust response, said Siddhartha Datta from the WHO’s regional office in Europe, including “school-based vaccination, high-risk vaccination of military recruits, and health care workers.”

WHO stripped Britain, Greece, the Czech Republic, and Albania of their measles elimination based on 2018 data.

“Each of these countries are examples that have extremely high national vaccination coverage,” said Kate O’Brien, director of the WHO’s immunization department. “So, these are not examples of countries that have particularly weak [health-care] systems.”

Measles is a potentially fatal illness that causes coughing, rashes, and fever, but it is easily preventable with vaccination.

Close to 365,000 measles cases have been reported worldwide this year, the WHO said, almost three times as many as in the first half of 2018.

This entry was posted on Friday, August 30th, 2019 at 8:28 pm and is filed under Latest News.

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Evans DR, et at. 2019 VACCINE Vol 37(40):6008-6015
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