World Health Organization reports 400% increase in measles cases in 2017


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

Today, under the auspices of the WHO, health ministers from 11 countries will meet to discuss working together to achieve the goals set out in the European vaccine action plan by 2020, including measles and rubella elimination.

According to figures from the WHO Regional Office for Europe, 2016 saw a record low of 5,273 cases of the disease, however previous year, this jumped by 400% to 21,315 cases, including 35 deaths.

According to the HSE's latest update there is an ongoing outbreak of measles in the midwest region and since October 2017 more than 10 cases have occurred in the Dublin and north east region.

A new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) is warning that those opposed to vaccinations might be responsible for outbreaks of measles across Europe.

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

In Europe, 21,000 cases of the illness were reported, with 5,000 in Romania, Italy and Ukraine.

However, a number of European countries have recently seen declines in overall routine immunisation coverage, consistently low coverage among some marginalised groups, interruptions in vaccine supply or underperforming disease surveillance systems.

"Kids up to 6 years old won't be accepted into nursery schools without them", reporter Christopher Livesay told NPR. The law also imposed penalties on parents who did not vaccinate their children.

That was controversial and sparked protest.

In 1998, the since disgraced gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield published fraudulent research in The Lancet which claimed a link between MMR and autism, causing a major fall in the uptake of the vaccine.

Other countries that experienced large outbreaks included Greece (967), Germany (927), Serbia (702), Tajikistan (649), France (520), the Russian Federation (408), Belgium (369), the United Kingdom (282), Bulgaria (167), Spain (152), Czechia (146) and Switzerland (105).

This compares to an incidence rate of 8.4 per million of population in 2016 when 43 cases of measles were recorded.

If people are unsure of their vaccination status they are advised to get an MMR vaccine, as even if they do have 2 doses of MMR a third dose is not harmful.

Despite the increases in Europe, WHO says vaccination against measles is a success story.