why the number of cases is exploding in Europe, already four deaths recorded in 2024

why the number of cases is exploding in Europe, already four deaths recorded in 2024
why the number of cases is exploding in Europe, already four deaths recorded in 2024

Sixty times more than in 2022

56,634 measles cases and four deaths were recorded in 45 of the 53 member countries of the WHO Europe region, which extends to Central Asia, during the first three months of 2024, according to figures from the WHO. organization. This is barely 5,000 fewer than for the whole of 2023, when 61,070 cases – and 13 deaths were reported – across 41 countries. It is also 60 times more than in 2022 when 941 cases of measles were reported. “Even a single case of measles should constitute an urgent call to action,” encouraged WHO Europe Director Hans Kluge, quoted in a press release.

“I urge all countries to take immediate action, even when overall vaccination coverage is high, to vaccinate vulnerable people, fill immunity gaps and thus prevent the virus from taking hold in any community “, he added.

Especially children

A highly contagious viral disease, measles is often benign, but can cause serious respiratory and neurological complications. It mainly affects children, but not only. In 2023, almost half of cases involved children under five.

“This reflects the accumulation of children who have not received routine vaccinations against measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases during the pandemic,” noted the WHO in a press release deploring the presence of cases in 27 of the 33 members where the virus had been eliminated.

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