By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
In a follow-up to a report last week concerning the United Kingdom losing it’s measles elimination status, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced today that 4 countries (Albania, Czechia, Greece and the United Kingdom) lost their measles elimination status.
“Re-establishment of measles transmission is concerning. If high immunization coverage is not achieved and sustained in every community, both children and adults will suffer unnecessarily and some will tragically die,” says Dr Günter Pfaff, Chair of the European Regional Verification Commission for Measles and Rubella Elimination(RVC).
In Europe, the surge in cases that began in 2018 has continued into 2019, with approximately 90,000 cases reported for the first half of the year. This is already more than that recorded for the whole of 2018 (84,462).
“Great efforts to control this highly contagious disease have brought us a long way towards regional elimination. However, ongoing measles outbreaks demonstrate that more is needed. Through activation of the emergency response, WHO has increased its focus on measles elimination and upgraded its action. This is the time and opportunity to address any underlying health system, social determinants and societal challenges that may have allowed this deadly virus to persist in this Region,” says Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe.
For the Region as a whole, as of the end of 2018, 35 countries are considered to have achieved or sustained measles elimination (compared to 37 for 2017), 2 have interrupted the endemic transmission of measles (for 12–35 months), 12 remain endemic for measles and 4 that had previously eliminated the disease have re-established measles transmission.
Despite the bad news today, their was some bright news. Austria and Switzerland attained elimination status, having demonstrated the interruption of endemic transmission for at least 36 months.
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