A “record number of people” in Europe have contracted measles even as immunisation rates rise, the UN’s health body has said.
Measles cases in Europe tripled between 2017 and 2018; the rate increased by 1,893% between 2016 and 2018. Yet health authorities said 90% of the population had received the full two-dose measles vaccination. The target is 95%.
“Measles killed 72 children and adults in the European Region in 2018. According to monthly country reports for January to December 2018 (received as of 1 February 2019), 82,596 people in 47 of 53 countries contracted measles. In countries reporting hospitalization data, nearly 2/3 (61%) of measles cases were hospitalized. The total number of people infected with the virus in 2018 was the highest this decade: 3 times the total reported in 2017 and 15 times the record low number of people affected in 2016.”
Luxembourg had 4 reported measles cases last year, according to the WHO data (PDF). The grand duchy also had 4 cases in 2017.
The vast majority of patients (92%) came from 10 nations.
Ten countries with highest numbers of measles cases in WHO European Region, January-December 2018:
These countries had “suboptimal immunization coverage”, said the WHO.