February 18, 2024
Measles Cases Surge 45-Fold in Europe, Prompting Urgent WHO Vaccination Call
World Europe Health

Measles Cases Surge 45-Fold in Europe, Prompting Urgent WHO Vaccination Call

Measles Cases Surge 45-Fold in Europe, Prompting Urgent WHO Vaccination Call

Measles Cases Surge 45-Fold in Europe, Prompting Urgent WHO Vaccination Call

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports a staggering surge in measles cases in Europe, reaching 42,200 in 2023, a nearly 45-fold increase from the previous year. Urgent vaccination efforts are emphasized to curb the spread of the infectious disease.

Of the 53 countries in the WHO’s Europe region, 41 reported measles cases, with Russia and Kazakhstan reporting the highest numbers.

The declining vaccination rates during the COVID-19 pandemic contribute to the alarming rise. The WHO stresses the need for prompt detection and response to measles outbreaks and calls attention to 1.8 million infants in the region who were not vaccinated against measles between 2020 and 2022.

Regional Disparities and Complications

Russia and Kazakhstan reported 10,000 cases each, while Western Europe, particularly Britain, recorded significant numbers.

The WHO highlights nearly 21,000 hospitalizations and five measles-related deaths from January to October 2023. Measles, a highly contagious viral disease, spreads through respiratory droplets.

Symptoms include a rash, runny nose, cough, and watery eyes, with potential severe complications. The measles vaccine, typically administered at nine months and 15-18 months, aims for at least 95% coverage to prevent outbreaks.

Global Vaccination Challenges and WHO’s Prevention Efforts

The decline in measles vaccinations is a global concern, with 83% of children receiving the first vaccine in 2022, down from 86% pre-pandemic. In Europe, only 92% received the second dose in 2022.

The WHO stresses the role of vaccinations in preventing measles-related deaths, estimating that vaccines have prevented 56 million deaths between 2000 and 2021.

The urgent call for vaccination highlights the need to address the current surge and prevent further setbacks in the progress towards measles elimination.

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