Another year, another series of measles outbreaks. The World Health Organization say they are “taken aback” by more than 22,000 cases in 2014 and the first months of this year and countries must step up their measles vaccinations.
“When we consider that over the past two decades we have seen a reduction of 96% in the number of measles cases in the European region, and that we are just a step away from eliminating the disease, we are taken aback by these numbers,” Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO regional director for Europe, said.
“We must collectively respond, without further delay, to close immunization gaps.”
“It is unacceptable that, after the last 50 years’ efforts to make safe and effective vaccines available, measles continues to cost lives, money and time.”
The measles comeback is largely due to a growing number of parents who are refusing to vaccinate their children (thanks Jenny McCarthy) or are facing barriers in getting the immunizations they need. Considering measles is one of the most contagious diseases known to man and can be easily spread through coughing and sneezing, this isn’t very good. In fact, measles had the ability to turn Disneyland from the happiest place on earth into measles ground zero after hundreds of people were exposed to the virus.
U.S. health officials announced Monday that the country has had 154 measles cases thus far in 2015 – which isn’t great considering they declared measles to be eliminated in 2000 after years of vaccination efforts.
But measles mania isn’t just a North American problem. Over in Europe, an 18-month-old child in Berlin who had not been vaccinated against measles died of the virus this week. Berlin has seen more than 600 cases since a measles outbreak began in October, prompting a nationwide debate about whether immunizations should be made mandatory.
To sum up, VACCINATE YOUR CHILDREN – unless, of course, you don’t want them to develop autism.