Saturday, 23 February, 2019

Measles cases in Europe tripled previous year, World Health Organization says

One case of measles confirmed in Bell County Denton County measles case is first in Dallas-Fort Worth, seventh in Texas
Melissa Porter | 08 February, 2019, 00:58

A case of measles was confirmed in Denton County on Wednesday, bringing the statewide total to seven.

Measles, a highly contagious viral disease common among children, causes a rash and high fever.

That helps explain why public health officials get so concerned when outbreaks occur, which they have been with increasing frequency in recent years. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if a person has measles, 90 per cent of those in proximity will also contract the virus unless they have been vaccinated or are immune.

The confirmed case of measles is in a child residing in Western Bell County.

Measles is transmitted through direct contact with an infected person or through the air when the infected person coughs or sneezes. But it can also lead to serious, life-threatening complications, including blindness, inflammation of the brain and pneumonia. That is almost a 500 percent jump in orders from January a year ago, when the total was just 530.

Part of the challenge facing public health officials is that Canada doesn't have a national vaccination registry and provinces track vaccine rates differently, meaning it can be hard to get an accurate, real-time sense of how many people are up-to-date on their shots - and where pockets of low immunization are.

Ukraine reported the highest number of measles cases previous year - more than 10 times that of the next highest, Serbia.

A total of 72 children and adults died in 2018 following infection, the World Health Organization said.

There were 72 deaths from measles in Europe in 2018 compared with 42 in 2017.

Washington is one of many states with non-medical exemptions.

The WHO says the 2018 surge in measles cases followed a year when European countries achieved their highest ever estimated coverage for the second dose of the measles vaccination - 90%.

These new Multnomah County cases are linked to the Clark County outbreak. Orders of measles vaccines in the county reached 3,150 in January.

The orders represent only state-supplied vaccines requested through the federal Vaccines for Children program, which provides free immunizations to children who otherwise couldn't afford them. Julie Graham, a public information officer with the Health Department, said those reports are inaccurate. Doctors say one dose of the MMR [measles, mumps, rubela] vaccine is about 93 percent effective.