A record number of people have been affected by the measles virus in 2018, according to a new report by the World Health Organization.
Measles killed 72 children and adults in Europe in 2018. Although more children in the region are being vaccinated against measles than ever before (90 per cent in 2017), progress has been uneven between and within countries, leaving increasing clusters of susceptible individuals unprotected.
Estimated second dose vaccination rates fall below the 95 per cent threshold required to achieve herd immunity in 34 European countries.
The WHO’s Dr. Zsuzsanna Jakab said: ‘The picture for 2018 makes it clear that the current pace of progress in raising immunisation rates will be insufficient to stop measles circulation. While data indicate exceptionally high immunisation coverage at regional level, they also reflect a record number affected and killed by the disease. This means that gaps at local level still offer an open door to the virus.’
‘We cannot achieve healthier populations globally, as promised in WHO’s vision for the coming five years, if we do not work locally. We must do more and do it better to protect each and every person from diseases that can be easily avoided.’