Europe has again suffered a loss in the fight against measles, WHO health organization reports Thursday. The disease is increasingly common in Europe. As a result, four countries no longer meet the definition of elimination, or fewer than one case per million population per 36 months.
Albania, the Czech Republic, Greece and the United Kingdom have therefore lost the special status associated with the elimination, according to the WHO. Never before have countries lost this status.
Austria and Switzerland have just been granted the status this year. The number of European countries with that status will thus be 33 for the time being.
Around 90,000 people in Europe were infected with measles in the first half of this year. That is more than in 2018, when the disease was registered 84,462 times. It is not clear how many infections were fatal.
The RVC, a committee that monitors measles infections in Europe, calls the continuing increase in the number of infections "worrying" and fears "unnecessary suffering" with possible death.
111More often measles in Europe: This is the matter
Also more infections in the Netherlands
The disease, which is characterized by a red skin rash, is also increasingly common in the Netherlands. This year more people have been infected with measles than in 2018. Up to June 24, 40 cases were reported, in 2018 there were 24.
The last Dutch epidemic was in 2013 and 2014. No less than 2,640 infections were registered, in particular in the so-called Bible Belt. Relatively many people live in this region who do not vaccinate their children for religious reasons.
The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) expects a major epidemic once every ten to fifteen years.
See also: Why measles is not a harmless childhood disease
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