Medical

Measles cases in Europe ‘highest in decade’

Measles cases in Europe ‘highest in decade’

Demand for measles vaccine has surged in the Washington county where the highly contagious virus is linked to more than 50 confirmed illnesses this year - including among people who had previously shunned the shots.

Vaccination coverage needs to be around 95 percent to prevent the virus circulating in communities - so-called "herd immunity".

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 rush to receive the MMR vaccine - which inoculates the recipient from measles, mumps and rubella - in Clark County is especially striking because the county has an unusually low vaccination rate.

Officials say they had stayed at home and in contact with health officials. The current Washington outbreak has been traced back to someone from outside the country. It was publicized earlier that the disease was eradicated in the U.S.in 2000 but has ever since made a return that is attached to imported cases and the growth of the anti-vaccine movement.

While families in Madagascar have difficulty accessing the measles vaccine, outbreaks in Europe and the US are often linked to vaccine hesitancy - the reluctance of parents to vaccinate their children because of unfounded fears about the treatment. The paper was completely debunked and retracted and Mr. Wakefield lost his medical licence, but the damage was done. Some of them also managed to limit the spread of the virus following importation to very few cases in 2017 and 2018, showing that elimination of the disease is well within reach for the whole Region.




Part of the challenge facing public health officials is that Canada doesn't have a national vaccination registry and provinces track vaccine rates differently, meaning it can be hard to get an accurate, real-time sense of how many people are up-to-date on their shots - and where pockets of low immunization are.

Most of the infections have occurred in children, under age 18, who were unvaccinated.

"There's no reason we should be having this outbreak", says Melnick.

Graham said that "patient zero" is not a term the Health Department even uses.

Only two provinces, Ontario and New Brunswick, require children to have updated vaccination records in order to enter school. About 600 people a day were vaccinated during the last week of January, compared to 200 people during the same period past year.

That's a huge rise in a county where vaccination rates lag - only 76.5 percent of kindergartners had all the required immunizations for the 2017-18 school year.


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