UK measles EPIDEMIC fears: Cases rocket by 400% in a YEAR

Tuesday, February 20, 2018
By Paul Martin

MEASLES cases rocketed by 400% across Europe last year sparking fears of a potential epidemic.

By Siba Jackson
20th February 2018

The highly contagious disease affected more than 20,000 people across the continent, resulting in 35 deaths, according to shock new figures.

The spike in measles cases comes after a record low of just over 5,000 in 2016.

And the life-threatening infection – which can cause pneumonia and inflammation of the brain – is said to be on the rise due to parents refusing to immunise their children, as well as a shortage of the vaccine, health chiefs revealed.

“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 World Health Organisation regional director for Europe, Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab.

A total of 15 countries suffered measles outbreaks last year, including the worst affected Romania, which had more than 5,500 cases, together with Italy and Ukraine which had a combined total of almost 10,000 cases.

Serbia, France, Germany and Greece were also hit by the disease.

Almost 300 cases were recorded in Britain last year, although measles is much less common here due to high vaccination rates, WHO said.

But it comes measles flared up across the UK last year.

Cases in major cities including Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham, as well as in Surrey and Sussex, are linked to ongoing outbreaks in Europe.

“Over 20,000 cases of measles, and 35 lives lost in 2017 alone, are a tragedy we simply cannot accept,” Dr Jakab added.

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