Measles cases are rising in Europe

В Европе растет заболеваемость корью

Many children have missed routine vaccinations during the pandemic. Measles cases are rising in Europe Health

Measles cases continue to rise in Europe, and the number of measles cases reported this year will soon exceed the total for all of 2023, WHO and UNICEF warned today.

According to the latest data, in the first three months of 2024 alone, 56,634 cases of measles and four deaths were officially reported in 45 countries in the WHO European Region. In 2023, 41 countries reported 61,070 cases and 13 deaths. More than half of those infected with measles in the WHO European Region were hospitalized last year.

Measles has a devastating impact on children’s health, with young children at greatest risk of severe complications. High hospitalization rates and weakened immune systems make children more vulnerable to other infectious diseases.

“Even one case of measles should be a signal for urgent action. No one should have to suffer the consequences of this devastating but easily preventable disease. I applaud every country that has stepped up its efforts to stop transmission through “catch-up vaccination.” “I call on all countries to take immediate action, even where overall immunization rates are high,” said Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe.

Almost half of cases in 2023 year was registered among children under five years of age. This is a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, during which many children missed routine vaccinations against measles and other diseases, WHO experts explain. They also note that vaccination rates recovered at a slow pace in 2021 and 2022.

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“The increase in measles incidence is a clear sign of declining immunization rates. As the number of measles cases continues to rise, we need urgent action from governments to both strengthen health systems and implement effective public health responses to ensure that all children are protected from this dangerous but preventable disease,” said Regina de Dominicis, UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia.

Of the children under five who contracted measles in 2023, more than 75 percent were children who had not received a single dose of the vaccine. About 99 percent of children who become ill have not received a second dose of vaccine.

Measles rates are rising worldwide, with more than 300,000 cases reported in 2023 and figures for 2024 will most likely be higher. The virus circulates between countries and continents, and outbreaks of the disease will occur wherever there is an unvaccinated population.

Countries that do not currently have measles cases should actively plan and prepare for potential outbreaks to prevent the spread of the virus within and outside the country.

Countries currently experiencing outbreaks need to continue their efforts to vaccinate their populations, intensify case detection and contact tracing. UNICEF and WHO, together with regional and global partners, will continue to support countries in the fight against measles.


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