Measles epidemic in Europe – Already 37 dead
More than 41,000 children and adults in Europe contracted measles in the first six months of 2018. This is clear from a report from the WHO of the World Health Organization. For example, the half-year figures would already be twice as high as the figures for the past year of the past year. Already 37 people died from the effects of the infectious disease.
"After the low number of cases of measles in 2016, we experienced a dramatic increase in infections with extensive outbreaks," Dr. Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, commented on the infection. The cases were exceptionally high in the first half of 2018. According to the WHO, only 23,927 cases of measles were compared with 2017 in the whole year, and only 5,273 in 2016.
The WHO demands a quick action
"We urge all countries to take immediate and comprehensive measures to stop the spread of this disease," said the Regional Director. Good health for everyone starts with the vaccine.
Seven countries were hit particularly hard
In seven European countries the measles raged particularly hard, including France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine. According to the WHO report, more than 1,000 infections per country were reported here. Especially in Ukraine the situation is volatile: with 23,000 reported cases, the country accounts for more than half of all diseases. Most deaths occurred with 14 victims in Serbia.
Low vaccination coverage in Europe
The European Regional Verification Commission for measles and rubella (RVC) recently published a review of the endemic spread of measles. The RVC criticizes the inadequate monitoring of measles in some European countries. In addition, the vaccination coverage is partially low.
Setbacks in the fight against measles
"This partial relapse shows that every person who is not immune is vulnerable," Dr. said. Nedret Emiroglu, director of the Health Emergencies department at the regional WHO office for Europe. Every country must insist on greater vaccine coverage and immunological gaps.
Measles are exceptionally contagious
"The measles virus is exceptionally contagious and spreads easily to susceptible people," WHO experts explain. To prevent outbreaks, a vaccination rate of 95% is needed in every community. According to WHO, there are major differences in vaccination coverage within Europe. While in some regions the 95 percent rate was reached, other regions did not even reach 70 percent.
Some regions are still very vulnerable
"We must celebrate our achievements without losing sight of the people who are still vulnerable," Dr. Jakab. Some regions would need urgent attention from the WHO.
Measles can be stopped
"We can stop this deadly disease," says Jakab. But this can only succeed if everyone contributes. Vaccinating his child and himself and reminding others of the vaccine can save lives. (Vb)