WHO warns about the spread of measles in Europe

health clinicHealth clinic.Photo: Lise Åserud / SCANPIX .

The World Health Organization (WHO) urged European countries to provide more vaccinations against measles.The number of infected persons is significantly higher than last year.


A total of 41,000 cases of infection were recorded from January to June, a significant increase over 2017,when the number of infected persons for the whole year was 24,000.This again was a quadrupling from 2016. During the first half of 2018, the disease has taken 37 lives, more than last year’s 35 deaths.

‘’After the low number from 2016, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of infected people. In addition, the outbreaks extend over larger areas,” said WHO Regional Director for Europe, Zsuzsanna Jakab.

WHO said that the decreasing use of vaccines and poor coverage among vulnerable groups is one of the reasons for the high figure in the first half of this year.To prevent major outbreaks, WHO believes that the coverage rate must be 95% of the population.

Seven countries registered over 1,000 cases in the first half of this year: France, Georgia,Greece, Italy, Russia, Serbia, and Ukraine.

Ukraine, with its 23,000 cases, accounts for over half of the total in 53 countries in Europe.Serbia had most deaths at 14.

Measles is a highly contagious disease. It is spread through sneezing, close to personal contact or direct contact with spit or mucus from infected persons. Children and pregnant women who are not vaccinated are particularly vulnerable to measles reported WHO.


© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today