European Measles Cases Quadrupled in 2017

Unvaccinated young children are at highest risk of contracting measles

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

"These countries have experienced a range of challenges in recent years, such as declines in overall routine immunization coverage, consistently low coverage among some marginalized groups, interruptions in vaccine supply or underperforming disease surveillance system", the World Health Organization report stated.

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 measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is effective in the prevention of the disease and is administered during childhood, however, the vaccine has also encountered negative publicity as a result of, now discredited, research claiming a link between the vaccine and autism, leading to a number of people in the United States and Europe refusing to be vaccinated.

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

The measles rash is made up of red or brown blotches.

Since the introduction of a process to verify the elimination of measles and rubella in 2012, the WHO European Region has witnessed progression in achieving the ultimate goal. "If your child missed their MMR vaccine you should contact your GP".

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Doubts were raised following a 1998 study by Dr Andrew Wakefield.

More recent studies have found no link between the jab and autism or bowel disease. 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. Romania had the most, with 5,562, followed by Italy, with 5,006, and Ukraine, with 4,767.

Fifteen European countries recorded the highest number of cases, with Romania, Italy and Ukraine topping the list, the European chapter of the organization said. In September 2017, Denmark was officially considered to have eliminated the disease.

The measles, mumps and rubella vaccination is given as part of the routine NHS childhood vaccination programme.

If you're not sure whether you were vaccinated in the past, having the vaccine again won't cause any harm, says the NHS.

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