Measles outbreak in Europe

This item appears on page 59 of the April 2018 issue.

The World Health Organization is warning of a drastic increase in cases of measles in Europe.

In 2017, more than 20,000 cases were reported in European countries, resulting in 35 deaths. In 2016, 5,273 cases were reported in the entire year, while in 2017 more than 5,000 cases each were reported in Romania and Italy. 

Other countries that had more than 500 reported cases last year were Ukraine (4,767), Greece (967), Germany (927), Serbia (703) and France (520). Health officials are blaming the anti-vaccination movement for decreasing immunization across the continent.

Measles is spread via contact with fluids from infected people. Symptoms begin as a high fever and rash. However, the disease can progress to cause encephalitis, pneumonia and blindness. Vaccinations provide lifelong immunity.