Europe tourists, watch out for measles

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In spite of trying to get the vaccination numbers up, 35 people died of measles last year in Europe, the World Health Organization said. Adding that biggest outbreaks, which are in Romania and Italy can be blamed on low vaccination rate numbers.

WHO also said “The most recent fatality was a 6-year-old boy in Italy, where over 3,300 measles cases and two deaths have occurred since June 2016.” The boy suffered from leukemia. Public health agencies encourage everyone to vaccinate their children because kids who suffer from cancer are more vulnerable to measles and other infectious diseases.

According to WHO few other countries reported outbreaks, all in Europe. Information gathered from national public health authorities show measles have caused 311 deaths in Romania, one death in Germany and one in Portugal. WHO added that Romania has had more than 3,000 cases in the past year.

This year Italy declared measles vaccines obligatory for school kids. This policy got vaccination rates high in th U.S. Additional measure was also introduced in Italy, they added a fine of $8,000 for those who don’t vaccinate their children

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking U.S. travelers to make sure they are up to date on measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines before they go outside of the country. Although measles is eliminated in the U.S. there are some sporadic outbreaks caused by the virus brought by travelers.

The outbreak that infected 78 people this year is slowly being brought to end in Minnesota. When incubation periods are over without new infections, which is expected at the end of the month, outbreak can be declared to be over.

The outbreak in Minnesota was caused by huge lack of interest in vaccination due to vaccine critics who were oriented to the Somali immigrant community.

Italy’s health authorities said vaccination rates in Italy dropped from 90 percent in 2010 to 85 percent in 2015 also caused by vaccine critics.

Dr. Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO’s regional director for Europe said every death or disability caused by vaccine-preventable disease is an “unacceptable tragedy.”

“We are very concerned that although a safe, effective and affordable vaccine is available, measles remains a leading cause of death among children worldwide, and unfortunately Europe is not spared,” Jakab said. “Working closely with health authorities in all European affected countries is our priority to control the outbreaks and maintain high vaccination coverage for all sections of the population.”

Europe’s battle with measles is lasting for years. In 2013 it was worst, more than 10,000 cases of measles were reported. There was 4,224 cases from July 2014 to June 2015, most of which were in Germany. And from summer 2015 to summer 2016 there were 1,818 cases.

Worst year for th U.S. was 2014, when 667 cases were reported. This year, the CDC reports 108 cases in the United States.

According to experts 95 percent of the population must be vaccinated or immune to control measles, because of a past infection

Measles belongs to most infectious viruses. It infects 90 percent of people who are exposed to it, and can stay in the air two hours after an infected person has left

Vaccination campaigns did cause a 79 percent drop in deaths since 2000, but according to WHO measles killed 134,200 people worldwide in 2015.

“During 2000-2015, measles vaccination prevented an estimated 20.3 million deaths, making measles vaccine one of the best buys in public health,” WHO says.