'Measles in Europe up 400% in 2017'

HSE Measles clinic for city

Measles cases jump by 400% in Europe

Outbreaks of measles increased 400% in Europe a year ago, with the World Health Organization (WHO) warning the highly contagious virus has regained a foothold due to immunization decline and vaccine supply problems.

The disease affected 21,315 people and caused 35 deaths, following a record low of 5,273 cases in 2016.

"Over 20,000 cases of measles, and 35 lives lost in 2017 alone, are a tragedy we simply can not accept", said Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe.

"Over 20,000 cases of measles, and 35 lives lost in 2017 alone, are a tragedy we simply can not accept".

The large-scale outbreaks occurred in countries where vaccine uptake was low or vaccine supplies were interrupted, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

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The biggest outbreaks recorded previous year were in Romania and Italy. "It is also thought that the country's large Roma population, who often live in severe poverty, are at particular risk of contracting and spreading the virus", the broadcaster added.

"Parents of children in Limerick city and county, Clare and North Tipperary should ensure their child is fully vaccinated for MMR and bring their child for vaccination if they have missed or not already had the correct number of doses for their age".

World Health Organization reported that there were over 1,200 suspected cases in Ireland during 2017.

In response to the burgeoning outbreak in Italy past year, the country made vaccines mandatory for measles and a number of other diseases for school children. "If your child missed their MMR vaccine you should contact your GP".

"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)."

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The number of cases has been rising since the beginning of January.

While Europe has seen a sudden increase in cases, there were 89,780 measles deaths globally in 2016, an annual rate that fell below 100,000 for the first time.

Measles has rebounded in the WHO European Region.

An outbreak hit Minnesota in 2017, sickening at least 79 people.

The rash looks like small, red-brown blotches and can make a person feel very unwell.

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