Published: Fri, February 08, 2019
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

Measles cases in Europe `highest in decade´

Measles cases in Europe `highest in decade´

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Graham did say the State Health Department has confirmed that every Washington case of measles since the first confirmed case has matched the same wild strain of measles the first case had.

As stated by to the state health department, orders for two types of measles medicines in Clark County increased by nearly 500 percent in January compared with the same month previous year, from 530 doses to 3,150.

Area health clinics are scrambling to keep up with sudden demand, mostly among parents of children who had not been inoculated.

But they have their eyes on the 17 states, including many already dealing with outbreaks today, that allow vaccine exemptions for both religious and personal beliefs - expanding the pool of unvaccinated beyond those who are simply medically ineligible for them.

"We're just happy that we're prepared and that there is vaccine available".

Ukraine recorded the highest number of measles cases in Europe in 2018, at 53,218.

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.

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.

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And leading health officials are stressing the importance of getting vaccinated.

The orders represent only state-supplied vaccines requested through the federal Vaccines for Children program, which provides free immunizations to children who otherwise couldn't afford them.

"I would rather it not take an outbreak for this to happen", he said.

The region's measles outbreak began in Clark County, Washington, where since January 1, health officials had confirmed 49 cases and suspected nine others as of Tuesday morning.

Fifty-one of the confirmed measles cases are in southwest Washington, one is in the Seattle area and four are in the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area.

On Wednesday, officials sent letters to families of 5,000 children in Multnomah County telling them they'll be excluded from school if they don't have up-to-date immunizations or valid exemptions by February 20. Among the confirmed cases, 43 were not immunized against the highly contagious disease.

By the end of 2017, the percentage of children in Ukraine who had been vaccinated had significantly improved, to about 90% but, the World Health Organization says, this now needs to be sustained to protect the population from further outbreaks of measles. Health officials say the shots are safe and effective, providing about 93 percent protection with one dose and 97 percent with two doses. It was publicized earlier that the disease was eradicated in the 2000 but has ever since made a return that is attached to imported cases and the growth of the anti-vaccine movement. Seventy-nine cases of measles have been reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since the start of this year.

Legislation in the state of NY permits vaccine exemptions for individuals who have religious beliefs against immunization.

The WHO defines "vaccine hesitancy" as the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines. Others object to the timing and combinations of vaccines and from compulsory vaccination of their children.

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