Measles Outbreak Spreading Across Europe

A new report released this week shows that measles is once again on the rise in Europe. The measles news from the World Health Organization shows a drastic rise in measles cases over the last three years.

The World Health Organization reports that as of October, there have been 26,000 measles cases, and nine deaths, in Europe in 2011. That is three times as many cases during the same time period in 2007.

France accounted for about 14,000 cases in 2011. Most of the cases have been for children older than five and young adults. According to the Washington Post, Spain, Romania, Macedonia, and Uzbekistan have also seen big outbreaks.

Rebecca Martin, of the World Health Organization, said:

“We are seeing a surge of cases much larger than we’ve seen in the past five or six years… Over the years, people who haven’t been vaccinated are now giving the virus a big opportunity to spread.”

Seattle Pi reports that measles cases in Europe have been dropping for years, but they started to rise again in 2009.

Europe isn’t the only place experiencing a rise in measles cases. The United States had 205 cases this year, the most it has had in the last decade. According to the Washington Post, most of the cases in the US have been linked to other regions, including 20 cases from Europe.

Martin added:

“The U.S. normally only has about 50 cases a year. In May, international health officials posted an alert urging travelers everywhere to get vaccinated before flying overseas.”

WHO reports that the measles outbreak in Europe is due to the fact that many Europeans have not been vaccinated. In the United States, children are required to get a measles vaccination before they start school. Countries like Spain and Switzerland will pull unvaccinated children out of school during an outbreak, but they do not require children to be vaccinated.

Are you worried about a measles outbreak?