Measles Outbreak Appears To Be Increasing Vaccination Rates

A child receives a vaccine in a hospital in Belgrade Serbia

A child receives a vaccine in a hospital in Belgrade Serbia

More than 82,000 people in Europe were infected with the measles in 2018, marking the highest number of cases reported in the region this decade, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Also fueling the spread of measles are adults who received only one shot of vaccine, instead of the two routinely given today, and may now need booster shots, Jankovic said.

Meanwhile, Ukraine had the highest rate of measles cases in Europe, at 1,209 per one million population - 10 times the country's rate in 2017.

Heidi Larson, a specialist in vaccines and public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said the increase in cases was a "wake-up call on the importance of building confidence in vaccination". Seventy-nine cases of measles have been reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since the start of this year.

That helps explain why public health officials get so concerned when outbreaks occur, which they have been with increasing frequency in recent years.

According to the Washington Post, at least 55 people in Washington and neighboring OR have gotten sick with the virus, with new cases tallied nearly daily. The mainstream of those infected are children, who have not been vaccinated against the disease, executives said.

The Northwest cases are among three ongoing measles outbreaks in the US that sickened 79 people in January, according to the CDC. The vaccines include MMR, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella, and MMR-V, which also protects against the varicella-zoster virus, which causes chickenpox.

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But he's hearing from doctors and pediatricians that people are coming in to be vaccinated - including children whose parents, up to now, have been hesitant.

The area is considered a hot spot of anti-vaccination sentiment, with approximately 1 in 4 kindergarten-age children having not been given all of their childhood vaccines.

In Italy, the co-ruling anti-establishment Five Star Movement has questioned the safety of some vaccines and loudly denounced efforts to make vaccinations mandatory.

The data released on Thursday shows that 82,596 people contracted the measles in 47 of 53 countries in the WHO-classified European Region between January and December past year. Of those, 72 cases were fatal.

Washington now has a sufficient supply of MMR vaccine for children and adults; however, as the outbreak continues, vaccine supply may be affected.

WHO Regional Director for Europe Dr. Zsuzsanna Jakab said that "exceptionally high immunization coverage" across the continent belied significant gaps at local level.

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