Measles cases hit record high in Europe

Cases of measles in Europe have hit a record high, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

More than 41,000 people have been infected in the first six months of 2018, leading to 37 deaths - writes bbc.com

Last year there were 23,927 cases and the year before 5,273. Experts blame this surge in infections on a drop in the number of people being vaccinated.

In England, there have been 807 cases so far this year. The WHO is calling on European countries to take action.

Public Health England say the outbreaks in England are largely due to people who have travelled to areas of mainland Europe that have had outbreaks.

Measles is highly infectious and spreads by droplets in coughs and sneezes.

The infection lasts seven to 10 days. But while most people recover completely, it can cause some serious complications, including:

  • encephalitis (infection and swelling of the brain)
  • meningitis
  • febrile convulsions
  • pneumonia
  • liver infection (hepatitis)

The MMR vaccine can prevent infection but discredited research 20 years ago that erroneously linked MMR to autism has stopped some people from trusting the vaccine.

The NHS recommends all children receive the MMR around their first birthday and then just before starting school.

Image copyrightWHOImage captionWHO map of measles cases in the 53 countries of the European region, January to June 2018. The WHO has been collecting data since 2011.

Ukraine has by far the highest rate of measles in Europe, with more than 23,000 people affected.

But six other countries in Europe have seen more than 1,000 infections this year:

  • France
  • Georgia
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Russia
  • Serbia

And measles-related deaths have been reported in all of these countries, with Serbia reporting the highest number - 14.

Dr Nedret Emiroglu, from the WHO, said: "This partial setback demonstrates that every under-immunised person remains vulnerable no matter where they live and every country must keep pushing to increase coverage and close immunity gaps. "

Italy's upper house of parliament recently voted through legislation to abolish the law that makes vaccination mandatory for children before they start school. The amendment will mean parents of unvaccinated children will no longer face fines.

Measles symptoms:

  • cold-like symptoms - runny nose, sneezing
  • signs the body is fighting infection- high fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, muscle aches
  • red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • greyish spots in the mouth
  • red, raised spots that may merge together becoming blotchy, starting around the hairline two to four days after the initial symptoms, then spreading down over the head, neck and rest of the body

In England, there have been 807 laboratory confirmed measles cases, according to Public Health England (PHE). The highest numbers have been seen in:

  • London (281)
  • South East (166)
  • South West (139)
  • West Midlands (84)
  • Yorkshire and Humberside (75)

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at PHE, said: "We have seen a number of measles outbreaks in England which are linked to ongoing large outbreaks in Europe.

"The majority of cases we are seeing are in teenagers and young adults who missed out on their MMR vaccine when they were children.

"Anyone who missed out on their MMR vaccine in the past or are unsure if they had two doses should contact their GP practice to catch up.

"We would encourage people to ensure they are up to date with their MMR vaccine before travelling to countries with ongoing measles outbreaks, heading to large gatherings such as festivals, or before starting university."

Dr Pauline Paterson from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: "With a vaccine preventable disease, one case is one too many, and the numbers of measles cases so far this year is astounding."

Read more news of London on our site.

bbc.com
Measles Europe
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
2 views in june
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Society
An EE customer has said she was stalked by an ex-partner who worked at the firm, after he accessed her personal data without permission. Francesca Bonafede's number was switched to a new handset and her address and bank details were accessed. She said the company failed to take the data breach seriously and she had to involve police. EE "sincerely apologised" to Ms Bonafede, and said the employee no longer worked for the company. 'They didn't seem concerne...
Society
West Ham say they have handed over all of their evidence to the police after completing a "thorough and immediate" investigation into racist abuse shouted at Liverpool's Mohamed Salah. The incident happened during Monday's 1-1 draw at London Stadium. Egypt striker Salah, 26, was filmed on a mobile phone from a section of home supporters as he was taking a corner. "The club is unequivocal in its stance - such abuse will not be tolerated," West Ham said in a...
Society
A body seen in the wreckage of the plane carrying Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson has been recovered, investigators said. Remotely operated Vehicles (ROVs) were used in ‘challenging conditions’ to pull the body out of the water ‘in as dignified a way as possible’ the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said on Wednesday night. The body is being taken to Portland to be passed over to the Dorset coroner for examination, t...
Society
The US president, who has repeatedly criticised the military alliance, would meet with heads of state in London, Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg announced on Wednesday. It would be Mr Trump's second visit to Britain since his election, having jetted in amid swathes of protest last July. I am pleased to announce that allies have agreed that the next meeting of Nato heads of state and government will take place in London in December 2019. The meeting...
Society
Rolf Harris was jailed for five years and nine months in 2014 but released on licence in May 2017 Credit: PA Officials are investigating a report that disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris walked onto the grounds of a primary school and waved at pupils. The convicted sex offender went onto the premises of Oldfield Primary School near his home in Bray, Maidenhead, to talk to a sculptor working in the grounds, the Daily Mirror reported. Harris, who was jailed fo...
Crime
Two men have been arrested on suspicion of murder after a teenager was stabbed to death. Police and London Ambulance Service were called to Wolsey Court, off Westbridge Road in Battersea, at 7.52pm on Tuesday following reports of a stabbing. A 19-year-old man was found with stab injuries and died at the scene at 8.36pm despite paramedics battling to save his life. The stabbing took place less than half a mile from Prince George's primary school, Thomas's B...
Society
The girl, who has been named Roman by nurses, was found at around 10pm on Thursday in the park in Roman Road in East Ham.  Police said Roman was wrapped in a white towel and placed in the shopping bag on the ground next to a bench in the small children's play park.  The baby was rushed to hospital where she was in a stable condition on Friday morning, the Metropolitan Police said.  Roman was discovered by grandmother-of-one Rima Zvaliauskiene, 50, just 100...
Society
The operation to recover the doomed plane carrying Emiliano Sala off Guernsey could be hampered by days of poor weather as the man brought in by the footballer's family to find him said he could be in the wreckage. The English Channel is being battered by torrential ran, 40mph winds and 10ft waves with the poor conditions set to continue - and worsen - until the end of the week, MailOnline can reveal today. The families of the £15million striker and his pi...
Society
Train passengers are being warned of major disruption after overhead electric wires were damaged near one of London’s busiest stations. Network Rail said services travelling to and from Liverpool Street could be cancelled or revised until 8am on Thursday. Wires between Liverpool Street and Bethnal Green, east London, were damaged, with the outage impacting Greater Anglia, London Overground, Stansted Express and Transport for London Rail services. Passenger...