Measles outbreak, Europe

This item appears on page 18 of the October 2018 issue.

As of July 1, more than 41,000 people living in Europe had been diagnosed with measles this year — nearly double the 23,927 infections documented in all of 2017 — and at least 37 had died. The number of documented cases in 2018 is a record, according to the World Health Organization.

Some of the hardest-hit countries, with measles cases in the thousands, are France, Greece, Russia and Serbia. In Ukraine, alone, there were 19,971 cases between Jan. 1 and June 30. Doctors blame a reduction in vaccination rates for the outbreak.

Measles is a viral disease spread through contact or by people coughing or sneezing. Common symptoms include fever, rash, coughing and sneezing. However, the disease also can cause encephalitis (swelling of the brain), meningitis, pneumonia and liver damage.