EU, WHO call for urgent action on immunisations against measles

EU, WHO call for urgent action on immunisations against measles

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 3:39 pm

A Nurse attending to a child affected by measles epidemic. PHOTO: MSF

Measles took over 70 lives and caused around 80,000 infections in Europe in 2018, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the EU’s European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said on Wednesday.

For 2017, the two organisations reported 37 deaths in Europe.

The statement was issued in conjunction with Europe Immunisation Week, which is marked across the European Union.

The two organisations also noted that numbers in early 2019 are rising, especially in France, Poland, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Bulgaria and Ireland.

“Eliminating measles and rubella, as well as protecting children, adults from other vaccine-preventable diseases, is an intrinsic part of achieving’’ the United Nations’ health and development goals, the groups wrote.

“This requires collective action and accountability to ensure high immunisation coverage for all,’’ they added.

Earlier, the WHO reported that global measles cases are rising for the third year in a row, with recorded cases between January and March 300-per cent higher than in the same period in 2018.

In the case of rising numbers in the European Union, the two organisations have cited declines in overall routine immunisation coverage and low coverage among some marginalised groups as reasons for the surge.

Measles is a highly contagious disease.

It is spread by coughing, sneezing, close personal contact or direct contact with infected nose or throat secretions.

The most vulnerable include unvaccinated young children and pregnant women, according to the WHO. (dpa/NAN)

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