European measles cases highest in a decade as pockets refuse vaccination

One case of measles confirmed in Bell County

Measles cases in Britain tripled past year as the disease surged across Europe. Experts says the Islamic State has played a role too. "The recommended 2 doses of the measles vaccine provide even greater protection-97%".

Public health officials have attributed the outbreak to vaccine coverage of less than 50 percent of the population when the outbreak began.

It comes as the city of Washington in the United States declared a measles state of emergency, and the measles death toll in south-east Asia continues to rise.

More than 82,000 people in the European region - an area stretching from Russian Federation to Iceland and south to Malta - caught measles in 2018, the most infections in the past decade, the agency said in an emailed statement. It's now reintroduced after someone who travels outside the country gets infected.

"During an outbreak is when you see an influx of patients who would otherwise be vaccine-hesitant", said Virginia Ramos, infection control nurse with Sea Mar Community Health Center, which runs six sites that offer vaccines in Clark County. It is also easily preventable through vaccination.

Measles immunisation coverage has fallen in a dozen European Union countries since 2010, and 70 percent of countries with the lowest vaccine confidence in the world were in Europe. Health investigators in the city have determined that the first case was identified in an unvaccinated child who was exposed to measles during travel to Israel.

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Clark County Public Health Department Public Information Officer Marissa Armstrong said that the first case in the Clark County outbreak was a child who had traveled to Clark County from outside the country - information that was announced in the initial outbreak news release January 4.

Some 95% of children received the first dose of the vaccine. Last year, 372 measles cases were confirmed nationwide, the most since an outbreak in 2014 sickened 667 people. According to the World Health Organization, before the introduction of measles vaccination in 1963, the virus caused 2.6 million deaths every year.

According to the Bell County Health District, there were four possible cases under investigation.

"Outbreaks of measles in popular tourist destinations mean the risk for measles being imported into Australia at the moment is high", said Dr Vicky Sheppeard, Director Communicable Diseases NSW Health. More than 1,700 hundred adults have been vaccinated since the third week of January.

Washington state Rep. Paul Harris (R-Vancouver) has introduced a measurethat would remove personal belief exemptions for the MMR vaccine.

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