Measles Outbreak…In Europe

Measles is on the return, this time in Europe.  From the World Health Organization

Thirty countries in WHO’s European Region have reported a marked increase in measles cases, with 6 500 so far in 2011. Epidemiological investigations and genotyping by laboratories confirm exportation of the virus among several countries in the Region and to other regions of the world. Outbreaks and the further spread of measles are likely to continue so long as people remain unimmunized or do not get immunized on time according to the routine immunization schedule. An increase in international travel during the Easter holidays will further increase the risk of exportation and importation of measles…

France faces the largest outbreak, with 4 937 measles cases officially reported from January to March 2011, a figure almost equal to the total of 5 090 cases reported for whole of 2010. The national immunization system is implementing measures to get children vaccinated during the outbreak, including vaccinating infants at nine months of age, in line with WHO recommendations for a measles outbreak, and offering vaccine to all unimmunized and under-immunized people over the age of nine months. Other significant outbreaks are taking place in Serbia, Spain (Andalusia), The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey.

The WHO piece does not specify why parents would not get their children immunized, but my guess would be that widespread rumors of a link between autism and childhood vaccines probably has something to do with it.  If so, the people propagating those rumors are responsible for an incipient public health crisis in Europe.  Way to go.