More than 82,000 people in Europe were infected with the measles in 2018, marking the highest number of cases reported in the region this decade, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Of note, 2017 was also a record year for vaccination coverage when 90% of coverage for the second dose of the measles vaccine was achieved for the first time ever, according to WHO.
Europe is not the only country impacted by a spike in measles cases.
As of Wednesday, the Clark County Public Health Department had confirmed 50 cases of meales since January 1. Vaccination within 72 hours of exposure to the virus can limit the severity of the disease or prevent the exposed person from getting sick.
This represents a 74 per cent increase from 2018. But they have their eyes on the 17 states, including many already dealing with outbreaks today, that allow vaccine exemptions for both religious and personal beliefs - expanding the pool of unvaccinated beyond those who are simply medically ineligible for them.
A man and a baby became ill upon returning home on a flight to Sydney from the Philippines in January.
The case prompted NSW Health to urge people travelling to South East Asia to ensure they are fully vaccinated before heading overseas. The current measles outbreak in Clark County and one diagnosed case in King County are examples of why the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) Vaccine is a crucial requirement.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that can cause hearing loss and brain disorders in children and, in severe cases, can kill. Joan Robinson, a pediatric infectious diseases physician and editor of the Paediatrics & Child Health Journal, said that outbreaks often occur in small communities where children aren't vaccinated.
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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.
In the WHO's European region, which covers almost 900 million people, some 82,600 in 47 countries contracted measles previous year - the highest number this decade.
A state of emergency was announced recently in the western USA state of Washington after a measles outburst that has impacted over two dozen people and the majority of them are children.
WHO Regional Director for Europe Dr. Zsuzsanna Jakab said that "exceptionally high immunization coverage" across the continent belied significant gaps at local level.
Similar outbreaks have been occurring in Europe: In 2017, there were 25,863 cases of measles; previous year, that surged to more than 82,000.