Cases of measles have soared across Europe by 400pc

Measles

According to figures from the WHO Regional Office for Europe, 2016 saw a record low of 5,273 cases of the disease, however a year ago, this jumped by 400% to 21,315 cases, including 35 deaths. This represents a fourfold increase from the 2016 figure, which reached an annual record low of only 5,273 cases. The worst affected country was Romania, with 5,562 cases. The global health watchdog also said vaccine supplies and "underperforming disease surveillance systems" in several European countries have contributed significantly to the rash of recent measles cases.

This post originally appeared on the blog of data firm Statista and is republished here with permission.

In a statement this Tuesday morning, the HSE said that there are now 15 cases of the measles in Limerick, with one case connected to Dublin.

GETTYUnwillingness and a lack of access to vaccinations have effected the statistics
GETTYUnwillingness and a lack of access to vaccinations have effected the statistics

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be deadly. "This short-term setback can not deter us from our commitment to be the generation that frees our children from these diseases once and for all".

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation is reporting a large increase in cases of measles across Europe.

The countries with the biggest outbreaks were Romania and Italy, each of which saw more than 5,000 cases, and Ukraine, with more than 4,700 cases.

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When unvaccinated children contract measles it spreads to babies that aren't old enough to get their vaccines.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention a year ago warned worldwide travelers to ensure they are vaccinated against measles.

However, most measles-related deaths are caused by complications associated with the disease, and are more common in those under the age of five and adults over the age of 30.

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But, there remain some people who are not protected. Vaccination rates in Romania declined nearly 20 percentage points in the last decade, from 96 percent in 2006 to 76 percent in 2016.

Since the introduction of a process to verify the elimination of measles and rubella in 2012, the WHO European Region has witnessed progression in achieving the ultimate goal.

The HSE said in most cases those who contracted measles had not taken up the vaccine - something which experts say is driving the current surge in cases. "It is also thought that the country's large Roma population, who often live in severe poverty, are at particular risk of contracting and spreading the virus", the broadcaster added.

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