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Measles continues to spread and take lives in Europe

Staff Writer |
Ongoing measles outbreaks in the WHO European Region have caused 35 deaths in the past 12 months.

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The most recent fatality was a 6-year-old boy in Italy, where over 3300 measles cases and 2 deaths have occurred since June 2016.

Several other countries have also reported outbreaks; according to national public health authorities, these have caused 31 deaths in Romania, 1 death in Germany and another in Portugal.

The region has been progressing towards measles elimination. A total of 37 countries have interrupted endemic transmission, according to the assessment of the Regional Verification Commission for Measles and Rubella Elimination based on 2015 reporting.

However, remaining pockets of low immunization coverage allow the highly contagious virus to spread among those who choose not to vaccinate, do not have equitable access to vaccines or cannot be protected through vaccination due to underlying health conditions.

In response, several countries are adopting measures, such as school-entry checks, to increase coverage rates for routine vaccinations against measles and other diseases.

WHO recommends that every eligible child receive 2 doses of measles-containing vaccine.

It also encourages adults who are not fully immunized, or who are not sure of their immunity status, to get vaccinated.


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