European Measles Cases Quadrupled in 2017

The increase is attributed to a drop in immunization rates.

Shawna Williams
Shawna Williams

Shawna joined The Scientist in 2017 and is now a senior editor and news director. She holds a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Colorado College and a graduate certificate and science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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Feb 20, 2018

aerial view of EuropeISTOCK, ALMIR1968There were 21,315 measles cases reported across Europe in 2017, four times as many as the previous year, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced yesterday (February 19). Of the people diagnosed in Europe, 35 died of the disease, which struck hardest in Romania, Italy, and Ukraine.

“Every new person affected by measles in Europe reminds us that unvaccinated children and adults, regardless of where they live, remain at risk of catching the disease and spreading it to others who may not be able to get vaccinated,” says Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, in the WHO statement. The cases and deaths “are a tragedy we simply cannot accept,” she adds.

The announcement came ahead of a meeting of health ministers to discuss how to achieve goals set out in the European Vaccine Action Plan. Those include the elimination of measles and rubella.

NBC notes that measles is...

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year warned international travelers to ensure they are vaccinated against measles.

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