European Measles Cases Quadrupled in 2017

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The NHS website notes: "There has been some controversy about whether the MMR vaccine might cause autism, following a 1998 study by Dr Andrew Wakefield".

It said there was a four-fold increase in cases as the disease affected 21,315 people and caused 35 deaths in 2017.

Measles cases across Europe soared by 400% previous year, according to the World Health Organisation. The measles vaccine was first introduced to combat the extremely contagious illness the 1950s, when about 500 Americans would die annually.

In its latest disease surveillance report for 2017, World Health Organization said declines in overall routine immunisation coverage and low coverage among some marginalised groups was the primary cause of the measles outbreak.

Today (20 February), ministers of 11 countries will convene to discuss ways they can work together in order to achieve the goals set out in the European Vaccine Action Plan (EVAP) by 2020, including measles and rubella elimination.

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There are now fifteen cases of measles infection confirmed in Limerick City this year and a linked case confirmed in Dublin.

"Kids up to 6 years old won't be accepted into nursery schools without them", reporter Christopher Livesay told NPR.

"This serves as an important reminder for parents to take up the offer of MMR vaccination for their children", she said. These cases have attended a number of community and healthcare settings across the city. A Region-wide midterm EVAP progress report will be presented at the 68th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe in September 2018.

Greece (967), Germany (927), Serbia (702), Tajikistan (649), France (520), the Russian Federation (408), Belgium (369), the United Kingdom (282), Bulgaria (167), Spain (152), Czechia (146) and Switzerland (105) also experienced large outbreaks, many of which were in decline by the close of 2017. As NPR's Jason Beaubien reports, Rohingya camps in Bangladesh have also seen recent outbreaks.

The figures indicate that a lower rate of vaccination could be behind the increase. A 2015 outbreak across multiple states is believed to have originated with a traveler who visited Disneyland. But 2017 had more than doubled that number. After about 3 days, a rash of "flat red spots" appears on the infected person's body.