Anti-vaxxers partly responsible for Europe's highest measles cases in a decade

A measles outbreak near Portland Ore. has revived a bitter debate over so-called “philosophical” exemptions to childhood vaccinations. MMR protects against measles mumps and rubella

Anti-vaxxers partly responsible for Europe's highest measles cases in a decade

"Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent measles", stated Dr. Matt Richardson, Director of Public Health. The Pacific Northwest outbreak includes one confirmed case in King County, where Seattle is located, and four in Multnomah County, which includes Portland, Ore.

Ukraine reported the highest number of measles cases a year ago - more than 10 times that of the next highest, Serbia.

World Health Organization said the historic annual figure was three times higher than that of 2017 and 15 times greater than the record low reported in 2016.

According to Clark County's outbreak investigation statement, all of the confirmed cases are a match of a wild strain of virus that has been circulating through Eastern Europe and is preventable through vaccination.

In nearly every instance, the infected person had not received the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

But when children who are unvaccinated shop in the same stores and go to the same events as everyone else, that's when they can get exposed.

"During an outbreak is when you see an influx of patients who would otherwise be vaccine-hesitant", said Virginia Ramos, infection control nurse with Sea Mar Community Health Center, which runs six sites that offer vaccines in Clark County. Only 81% of 1 to 5 year olds in the county have received a dose of MMR, according to Clark County, Washington Public Health. In countries reporting hospitalization data, almost 2/3 (61%) of measles cases were hospitalized. No other information is being released to protect the person's identity. "The recommended 2 doses of the measles vaccine provide even greater protection-97%".

What Other Cities Are at Risk?

But the university can grant an exemption through a student's personal medical provider.

While more children in Europe are being vaccinated against measles than ever before, progress has been "uneven" between countries and individual countries have some patches where vaccine take-up is low, it said.

The trend continued over the next two weeks, with more than 1,000 getting vaccinated each week.

With more suspected cases, the outbreak isn't close to being over, officials said.

The "anti-vaxxers" movement still thrives in many pockets of the United States. Three were confirmed in Harris County and one each in Galveston, Montgomery and Bell counties.

Although we are left to speculate about the next location of a measles outbreak, it's clear that if vaccination coverage does not increase, it will only be a matter of time until we find out.

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