Another demonstration of the benefits of vaccinations.
Outbreaks of measles increased 400% in Europe last year, with the World Health Organization (WHO) warning the highly contagious virus has regained a foothold due to immunization decline and vaccine supply problems.
Reports of the disease, which can cause inflammation of the brain and pneumonia, reached an all time low in 2016. But the WHO has released new data revealing a sudden rise in measles cases.
More than 20,000 cases of measles, for which there is no specific medication, were documented in Europe during 2017. The countries worst affected were Romania, with 5,562 new cases, along with Italy and Ukraine, which experienced a combined total of 9,773 potentially fatal measles reports.
“Every new person affected by measles in Europe reminds us that unvaccinated children and adults, regardless of where they live, remain at risk of catching the disease and spreading it to others who may not be able to get vaccinated,” said Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO regional director for Europe.