The number of recorded measles cases in Europe more than tripled between 2017 and 2018, marking the highest it’s been in a decade, the World Health Organization said. According to newly released data from the WHO, in 2018, more than 82,000 people were infected with the disease and 72 people died in Europe. In 2017, there were more than 25,000 measles cases in Europe and 42 deaths.
Over 41 000 children and adults in the WHO European Region have been infected with measles in the first 6 months of 2018. The total number for this period far exceeds the 12-month totals reported for every other year this decade.
After being the first continent in the world declared free of measles in 2016, nine countries in the region have registered cases last year. With almost 900 cases, Venezuela was the most affected. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) warns that the countries of the region should intensify their efforts to immunize the population and stop the spread of the disease.
The Region of the Americas is the first in the world to have eliminated measles, a viral disease that can cause severe health problems, including pneumonia, blindness, brain swelling and even death. This achievement culminates a 22-year effort involving mass vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella throughout the Americas.
Undersecretary of Health Jorge Díaz confirmed Saturday that there are seven contagious cases of measles in Chile, but emphasized that “it’s not an epidemic or anything of the sort.”