Measles cases in UK almost TRIPLE in a year as experts warn of surge across Europe
Vaccination rates need to be above 95 per cent to stop outbreaks 956 cases in UK to end of October compared with 374 during whole of 2010
A toddler with measles: Although usually a mild illness, it can be fatal, especially in young children (posed by model)
Measles is on the rise in Europe, say new figures from the World Health Organisation.
More than 26,000 measles cases have been reported so far this year and nine deaths – a threefold increase in cases from the same time period in 2007.
Measles cases have almost tripled in England and Wales in the last year, says the Health Protection Agency.
There were 956 cases to the end of October compared with 374 cases during the whole of 2010.
However, immunisation rates hit a new peak with 90 per cent of children aged two having received the vaccine.
France accounted for about 14,000 cases, mainly in children older than five and in young adults.
Other outbreaks occurred in Spain, Romania, Macedonia, and Uzbekistan.
“We are seeing a surge of cases much larger than we”ve seen in the past five or six years” said Rebecca Martin, immunisation programme manager for WHO”s Europe office in Copenhagen.
Measles cases had been dropping for years, but began to increase sharply in late 2009.
Ms Martin said the epidemic was fuelled mainly by low vaccination rates and noted about half the cases were in people older than 15.
She said “Over the years, people who haven”t been vaccinated are now giving the virus a big opportunity to spread.”
Of the people who got measles, about half were not vaccinated and the vaccination histories of many of the others were unknown.