Published: Sun, April 28, 2019
Medical | By Mark Scott

Decreasing vaccination rates 'causing spread' worldwide — MEASLES OUTBREAK

Decreasing vaccination rates 'causing spread' worldwide — MEASLES OUTBREAK

The risk in the United Kingdom remains low, according to Public Health England, but it warned that unimmunised people are in danger of catching the disease while outbreaks are growing in Europe.

In Nigeria, four million children missed out on the dose during this period.

The charity is warning that increasing numbers of youngsters are being left unprotected against the highly infectious illness, which can cause disability and death.

Inaccurate and misleading anti-vaccination messages on social media are thought to be one reason why vaccination rates are plummeting.

The UNICEF report said an estimated 169 million children missed out on the first dose of the measles vaccine between 2010 and 2017 - equating to 21.1 million children a year on average.

Simon Stevens, the head of the NHS in England, said: 'With measles cases nearly quadrupling in England in just one year, it is grossly irresponsible for anybody to spread scare stories about vaccines'.

· The best prevention against measles is receiving 2 doses of MMR vaccine.

It was followed by France (600 000) and the United Kingdom (500 000) during the period between 2010 and 2017.

Other countries including Argentina, Italy, Japan, Canada, Germany and Australia also made the top 10.

UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore said, the ground for the global measles outbreaks they are witnessing today was laid years ago adding that the measles virus will always find unvaccinated children.

"We need to work together to improve immunization delivery so that all children are protected from preventable diseases".

As a result, in 2017, measles killed 110,000 people globally, mostly children, according to the UNICEF report.

The WHO recommends a threshold of 95 percent immunisation coverage to achieve so-called "herd immunity" - or vaccinating a significant enough portion of the population to provide protection for those who have yet to develop immunity.

The North West had 22 confirmed cases in 2018 and 43 in 2017, meaning Greater Manchester alone has already surpassed the previous totals for the entire region.

Worldwide coverage levels of the second dose of the measles vaccines are even more alarming.

Health experts said children should have two doses of the vaccine to fully protect against the disease. What's more, a number of countries, particularly in Africa, still haven't introduced the second dose of the measles vaccine.

By age five, 87% had had their second dose, the quarterly figures showed.

Officials at the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County said the man who contracted measles recently travelled to Asia.

A vaccinated child tested earlier this week for measles here does not have the disease, according to the medical practice where the child was seen.

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