On August 29, the World Health Organization issued a report saying that in Europe, there has been a "dramatic resurgence" of measles in part fueled by vaccine refusals. About 90,000 people have been infected by the virus till the mid of 2019. The WHO revealed that a number of cases of measles from January- June 2019 is twice the cases reported for the same month in the year 2018. The disease that is easily spread by coughing, sneezing and close human contact is one of the most infectious diseases of the world.
Most European nations have some really strong policies on vaccination. However, the vaccine refusal by certain sections has triggered the spread of the disease over Europe. The Government on Germany in July proposed having measles immunization compulsory for the children and staff at schools and kindergartens as there were over 400 measles cases in the country in 2019. The German government is working to eradicate the disease from the country as soon as possible. In Ukraine, over 84,000 cases were reported and it was said to have the maximum people suffering in Europe followed by Kazakhstan and Georgia. The Ukraine health ministry in February claimed that 8 people were dead due to measles.
The WHO's expert committee stated that Albania, Czech Republic, Greece and the United Kingdom lost their status of having eliminated measles. Two doses of the vaccine can help prevent measles but once the people are infected, there is no efficient treatment available. “If high immunization coverage is not achieved and sustained in every community, both children and adults will suffer unnecessarily and some will tragically die,” said Dr. Guenter Pfaff, chair of a WHO expert committee on measles in Europe.
In many developed nations, vaccination rates for measles went down after the publication of a defective study in the 90s. The study has associated the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to autism. The health officials are still struggling to overcome the misunderstanding over the vaccination since that time. “Misinformation about vaccines is as contagious and dangerous as the diseases it helps to spread,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a statement this week. The WHO roughly calculated that measles has killed around 111,000 people, mainly children in the world.
(With inputs from AP)