World Health Organization reveals staggering 400% increase in measles cases reported in 2017

Fears were raised by a disgraced former doctor that the measles mumps and rubella vaccine caused autism

According to the World Health Organization, measles cases in Europe increased 300 percent previous year, reaching 21,315. It came as a blow, following a record low 5,273 cases in 2016.

Despite the increase in the number of cases of the virus Ireland does not feature in the top 15 countries hit by large outbreaks.

Cases were highest in Romania, Italy and Ukraine, with 15 countries, including the United Kingdom, experiencing large outbreaks.

Poor vaccination rates are thought to have led to epidemics in Romania, Italy and Ukraine.

Most of the American measles cases can be linked, in one way or another, with people traveling abroad-which is part of the reason the CDC has recommended being vaccinated against measles before going to Europe.

Measles is highly contagious disease that can be prevented by having the vaccination, offered by the NHS as a single measles, mumps and rubella jab.

Advisers met Tuesday to talk about how to increase vaccination rates in Europe.

These countries have witnessed declines in overall immunisation coverage - for some marginalised groups this coverage has been consistently low - interruptions in the supply of vaccines or underperforming disease surveillance systems.

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As of the end of 2016, 42 of the 53 countries in the WHO Europe Region had successfully halted endemic measles transmission.

Norway's public health agency said Wednesday it had registered three cases of measles in the Nordic country this week as outbreaks of the disease are soaring across Europe.

More than 21,000 people caught the virus in 2017, and 35 people died of it, World Health Organization said.

Measles is a leading cause of death among young children even though a safe and cost-effective vaccine is available.

The process of verifying measles and rubella elimination by country, introduced in 2012, has moved the Region closer to its measles and rubella elimination goal.

But outbreaks will continue to occur until every susceptible child and adult is protected. "And parents sending their children to school after that age without vaccinating them first will now face fines of up to $8,380".

In response to the burgeoning outbreak in Italy past year, the country made vaccines mandatory for measles and a number of other diseases for school children. If your child missed their MMR vaccine you should contact your GP.

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