Pinellas Health Department investigating measles case in 72-year-old man

Dana 15 months held by her mother Inna being administered her first dose of mumps measles and rubella vaccine on 4 April 2018 in Children’s Policlinic №1 in Obolon district Kyiv Ukraine

Dana 15 months held by her mother Inna being administered her first dose of mumps measles and rubella vaccine on 4 April 2018 in Children’s Policlinic №1 in Obolon district Kyiv Ukraine

More than half a million children in the United Kingdom were not vaccinated against measles over an eight-year period, new figures show.

But, according to Unicef, a mixture of complacency, misinformation, scepticism about immunisations, and a lack of access to jabs has led to inadequate vaccination rates globally.

It's been described by the NHS chief as a "public health timebomb".

"With measles cases nearly quadrupling in England in just one year, it is grossly irresponsible for anybody to spread scare stories about vaccines, and social media firms should have a zero tolerance approach towards this unsafe content".

Between 2010 and 2017, some 2,593,000 youngsters in the United States of America did not have their first dose of the vaccine.

France and the United Kingdom followed the child vaccine gaps, with 608,000 and 527,000 unvaccinated respectively within the eight-year period.

Other countries including Argentina, Italy, Japan, Canada, Germany and Australia also made the top 10. These rising numbers of unvaccinated children are leading to measles outbreaks hitting countries such as the USA and Nigeria, according to Unicef. "If we are serious about averting the spread of this risky but preventable disease, we need to vaccinate every child, in rich and poor countries alike".

During the first three months of 2019, more than 110,000 measles cases were reported worldwide, representing a near 300 per cent jump from the same period past year.

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The North West had 22 confirmed cases in 2018 and 43 in 2017, meaning Greater Manchester alone has already surpassed the previous totals for the entire region.

Anyone older than 12 months of age should receive the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine for protection, according to the Pinellas County Health Department.

Two doses of the measles vaccine are essential to protect all children, but UNICEF's figures show that there is a considerable drop off in children receiving the second dose.

A letter posted on the website of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine states: "We firmly believe that all children and young adults should receive all of the recommended vaccines according to the schedule published by the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics".

The rising numbers of unvaccinated children is attributed to the rise of a "vaccine rejection" trend among some parents in developed countries, including a militant "anti-vax" movement which spreads myths and untruths about vaccine safety.

By age five, 87% had had their second dose, the quarterly figures showed.

"One of the things I am particularly anxious about is the spread of anti-vaccination messages online".

Widening pockets of unvaccinated children have created a pathway to the measles outbreaks hitting several countries around the world today. For instance, despite population growth, the global coverage of the first measles vaccine has remained at 85% since 2017, with the second dose being much lower at 67%.

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