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Measles cases jump by 400% in Europe

21 February 2018, 07:46 | Lucy Hill

Measles cases jump by 400% in Europe

HSE Measles clinic for city

The highest numbers of affected people were reported in Romania (5,562), Italy (5,006) and Ukraine (4,767).

In 2017, 21,315 people caught the disease in the European region, resulting in 35 deaths.

Ukraine, with 4,767 measles cases, was among the three countries most affected by the outbreak, along with Romania and Italy, the World Health Organization said.

Other countries with large outbreaks in 2017 were Greece (967 cases), Germany (927), France (520), Belgium (369), Britain (282), Bulgaria (167), Spain (152), Czech Republic (146), and Switzerland (105).

Actions to stop current outbreaks and prevent new ones from taking place include raising public awareness, addressing challenges in access, and improving supply planning and logistics, the World Health Organization added.

"Elimination of both measles and rubella is a priority goal that all European countries have firmly committed to, and a cornerstone for achieving the health-related Sustainable Development Goals", Dr Jakab continues.

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In Ireland, the latest figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) show that in the first six weeks of this year, there have been 28 reported cases of measles.

It is mainly confined to two locations - the Ballinacurra Weston area and the Carew Park area of Southill.

NBC notes that measles is highly infectious, affecting 90 percent of unvaccinated people exposed to it, and that to control the disease, 95 percent of a population must either be immunized or previously infected with the virus.

The rash looks like small, red-brown blotches and can make a person feel very unwell. The most serious complications include blindness, encephalitis - an infection that causes brain swelling and can lead to deafness or learning difficulties, severe diarrhea and severe respiratory infections such as pneumonia. It usually starts on the forehead and moves downward over the face, neck and body.

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

The process of verifying measles and rubella elimination by country, introduced in 2012, has moved the Region closer to its measles and rubella elimination goal. All children should get MMR at 12 months of age and the second dose at 4-5 years of age.

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