Measles cases jump by 400% in Europe

Georgia Reed
February 21, 2018

Measles cases across Europe increased by 400% in 2017 with more than 20,000 people affected and 35 deaths.

Neighbouring Italy has witnessed a big outbreak of measles, prompting the government past year to introduce a law that made it incumbent on kindergarten schools and child care centres to accept only children who are vaccinated.

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

While Europe has seen a sudden increase in cases, there were 89,780 measles deaths globally in 2016, an annual rate that fell below 100,000 for the first time.

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.

The announcement came ahead of a meeting of health ministers to discuss how to achieve goals set out in the European Vaccine Action Plan.

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. Other countries with large outbreaks included Italy (5,006), Germany (927), France (520) and the United Kingdom (282).

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An ongoing outbreak in the Limerick area is now being investigated by the Measles Outbreak Control Team. There were 118 people reported to have measles in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, compared with 86 in 2016.

Actions to stop current outbreaks and prevent new ones from taking place include raising public awareness, addressing challenges in access, and improving supply planning and logistics, the World Health Organization added.

There will be a free MMR clinic this Wednesday, February 21, 12pm to 3pm, at Barrack View Primary Care Centre, Edward Street, Limerick.

The best way to protect yourself from measles is to get the MMR vaccine.

We are calling on those living in the Carew Park and Ballinacurra Weston area of Limerick city to attend.

All of these were in the final months of the year.

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