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Resurgence of deadly measles blamed on low MMR vaccination rates

A huge surge in measles cases across Europe has been reported by the World Health Organisation, which says low MMR vaccination rates are to blame.

More than 41,000 cases of measles have been reported in the European region between January and June. Last year there were nearly 24,000 for the whole 12 months, which was the highest count in any year of the last decade.

In seven countries (France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, the Russian Federation, Serbia and Ukraine) more than 1,000 children and adults have been infected in the first half of 2018 and at least 37 people have died. The biggest toll was in the Ukraine, which had 23,000 cases – half the European total. There were measles-related deaths in all seven countries. Serbia, with 14, had the most.

Two countries that had eliminated measles had outbreaks that continued for 12 months. The measles status of Germany and Russia has been reclassified by the WHO to endemic as a result. The outbreak in Germany began in Duisburg in early 2017 and spread to other cities.

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