New figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) have revealed that more 41,000 people in the WHO European Region have been infected with measles in the first six months of 2018.
The figure represents a significant increase in 2017 when a total of 23,927 cases were confirmed for the entire year. The total number of cases in the first six months of this year alone exceeds the 12-month totals reported for every other year this decade.
According to the WHO, seven countries in the Region have witnessed over 1,000 infections in children and adults this year, namely France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, the Russian Federation, Serbia and Ukraine. Measles-related deaths have been reported in all of these countries.
“Following the decade’s lowest number of cases in 2016, we are seeing a dramatic increase in infections and extended outbreaks,” says Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “We call on all countries to immediately implement broad, context-appropriate measures to stop further spread of this disease. Good health for all starts with immunisation, and as long as this disease is not eliminated we are failing to live up to our Sustainable Development Goal commitments.”