Measles infections in Europe hit decade high in 2018

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The measles outbreak reported in the northwest has made its way to Texas.

The case prompted NSW Health to urge people travelling to South East Asia to ensure they are fully vaccinated before heading overseas.

More children in the WHO European Region are being vaccinated against measles than ever before; but progress has been uneven between and within countries, leaving increasing clusters of susceptible individuals unprotected, and resulting in a record number of people affected by the virus in 2018.

Seventy-two children and adults died from the disease.

Health experts say the Clark County measles outbreak appears to be encouraging people to get vaccinated. This time, it's an outbreak of measles in Clark County, Wash.

Over the past three months, Australia has also seen a spate of measles cases.

In the WHO's European region, which covers almost 900 million people, some 82,600 in 47 countries contracted measles a year ago - the highest number this decade.

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Canada could experience the same type of measles outbreaks that Washington and NY states are now facing because of low vaccination rates and the highly contagious nature of the virus, public health experts warn. One day without a new measles case might seem an indicator of hope the outbreak is over, but it unfortunately doesn't necessarily indicate the end.

The disease, which is most common in young children, leads to symptoms including a high fever and white spots inside the mouth before developing into the "measles rash".

Washington state Rep. Paul Harris (R-Vancouver) has introduced a measurethat would remove personal belief exemptions for the MMR vaccine.

Vaccination rates for measles, mumps and rubella in Ukraine fell sharply over a number of years during its conflict with Russian Federation, reaching 31% in 2016 - among the lowest in the world. 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.

Coverage with the first dose of the vaccine also increased slightly to 95%, the highest level since 2013.

In Multnomah County, Oregon, officials were forced to issue exclusion notifications to parents of unvaccinated kids, letting them know that their children will not be able to attend school if they are not up to date on their childhood immunizations by February 20th. About 600 people a day were vaccinated during the last week of January, compared to 200 people during the same period a year ago.

It cannot be said clearly enough: vaccinations prevent the spread of diseases, some of which are very serious, some of which can cause long-term injury, disability or even death.

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