Anti-vaxxers might be responsible for explosion of measles in Europe

Fears were raised by a disgraced former doctor that the measles mumps and rubella vaccine caused autism

More than 20,000 people were infected as the disease rebounded from a record low to cause 35 deaths, according to World Health Organisation figures that reveal the damaging after-effects of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine scare.

Measles cases jumped by 400% in Europe in 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said. The worst affected country was Romania, with 5,562 cases.

The WHO says there have been declines in overall routine immunisation coverage, as well as consistently low coverage among some marginalised groups and interruptions in vaccine supply or underperforming disease surveillance systems.

This post originally appeared on the blog of data firm Statista and is republished here with permission.

Fifteen European region countries, including the United Kingdom, had large outbreaks.

"Elimination of both measles and rubella is a priority goal that all European countries have firmly committed to, and a cornerstone for achieving the health-related Sustainable Development Goals".

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be very unpleasant and sometimes lead to serious complications. "This short-term setback can not deter us from our commitment to be the generation that frees our children from these diseases once and for all".

Here are the total reported measles cases for Europe in 2017.

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Italy had more than 5,000 cases and Ukraine had 4,767 cases. The MMR vaccine is given for free and forms part of the basic immunisation programme offered to all children born in Malta.

Measles cases rose by 300 per cent in Europe a year ago as parents across the Continent shunned vaccines.

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

Vaccination doesn't just protect the person receiving the vaccine, it protects the entire population.

Doubts were raised following a 1998 study by Dr Andrew Wakefield.

There have also been several recent outbreaks in the US, primarily impacting people who were never vaccinated for measles.

For those who do contract the disease, its initial symptoms include a high fever, beginning about 10 to 12 days after exposure to the virus.

'This serves as an important reminder for parents to take up the offer of MMR vaccination for their children when offered at one year of age and as a pre-school booster at three years, four months of age'.

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