Sunday, December 4, 2011

WHO report increase in measles.

A WHO report this week reported on an increase in transmission and outbreaks of measles in Europe in 2011. Most of the cases (nearly half) were in children aged 15 and over, with nearly a quarter occuring in children aged 5 -15 and exactly a quarter occuring in children aged under 5. The figures are really quite alarming with over 26 000 cases, including 9 measles associated deaths. In over 90% of the cases, the people had either not been vaccinated or their vaccination history was unknown.

The encouraging news is that the Health Protection Agency reported in June 2011 that uptake rates for children aged 2 had reached 90% (the highest level for 13 years.) Unfortunately this is not the 95% needed protect people with 'herd immunity' (i.e. enough of the population have the vaccination to stop it from spreading.) Still, it is a step in the right direction.

However, the WHO aim to eliminate measles in Europe by 2015 which means that the vaccination rate will have to be at least 95% in that entire population. They say their latest report 'reveals a serious challenge' to that aim. 

So, if you have a child who hasn't been vaccinated, I strongly urge you to get it done.

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