Measles infections in Europe hit decade high in 2018

An informational sign about the measles is posted in the entrance of the Kaiser Permanente Cascade P

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 82,500 people contracted measles in 2018, with two thirds of people hospitalised as a result and 72 people died.

The WHO also said record numbers of children are getting the vaccine - offering hope the rise in infections may not last.

As the count of people with measles climbs toward 50, Clark County Public Health announced a short reprieve.

That helps explain why public health officials get so concerned when outbreaks occur, which they have been with increasing frequency in recent years.

Measles outbreaks have also sprung up in in more than a dozen USA states since the start of 2019.

The Northwest cases are among three ongoing measles outbreaks in the US that sickened 79 people in January, according to the CDC.

Julie Graham, a spokesperson for Washington State Department of Health, said that vaccine rates in Clark County have jumped up dramatically both among children and adults.

The case prompted NSW Health to urge people travelling to South East Asia to ensure they are fully vaccinated before heading overseas.

The United States is experiencing measles outbreaks in New York state, New York City and Washington state, which the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said began when travelers to Israel and the Ukraine returned to the US infected.

Measles is a highly contagious and potentially risky viral illness that is transmitted through coughing and sneezing.

Symptoms of measles include fever, sore eyes and a cough, followed three or four days later by a red, blotchy rash spreading from the head and neck to the rest of the body.

The area is considered a hot spot of anti-vaccination sentiment, with approximately 1 in 4 kindergarten-age children having not been given all of their childhood vaccines. Most importantly, at least 95% of every population needs to be immune, through two doses of vaccination or prior exposure to the virus, to ensure community protection for everyone - including babies too young to be vaccinated and others who can not be immunized due to existing diseases and medical conditions.

In Italy, the co-ruling anti-establishment Five Star Movement has questioned the safety of some vaccines and loudly denounced efforts to make vaccinations mandatory.

More than 80,000 people caught measles in 2018 across 47 European countries, 15 times as many as two years before. "The recommended two doses of the measles vaccine provide even greater protection - 97 percent".

Similar outbreaks have been occurring in Europe: In 2017, there were 25,863 cases of measles; a year ago, that surged to more than 82,000. In Quebec, it's 85 per cent and in B.C., it's 73 per cent. Experts say vaccination rates need to be 90 to 95 per cent in order to achieve herd immunity, which stops the spread of infectious disease.

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