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https://www.businessinsider.com.au/meas ... 9-8?nojs=14 European countries just lost their measles elimination status, and the US could be next
Measles, quite possibly the most contagious virus on the planet, is back with a vengeance across Europe and North America.
- The measles are making a comeback in four European countries where the virus had been declared “eliminated.” Strains of the virus are now circulating yearround in the United Kingdom, Greece, Albania, and Czech Republic.
- Measles elimination is generally a good sign that a country has a high vaccination rate, because it means that no single measles strain is able to stick around in-country for more than a year.
- Measles is one of the most contagious viruses on the planet, and can spread in the air even after an infected person has left the room. 90% of unvaccinated people who are exposed will get it.
- The US eliminated measles in 2000, but come October that may not be the case anymore.
“We are backsliding, we are on the wrong track,” Dr. Kate O’Brien, Director of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Department of Immunization, told reporters on Wednesday.
The United Kingdom, Greece, Albania, and the Czech Republic had all previously declared that the measles was eliminated, but not anymore. Each of those countries has seen specific measles strains circulating for more than a year now, which means measles can no longer be declared “eliminated” within their borders.
The fact that four formerly measles-free countries are regressing is another indication that an increasing number of babies and kids are going without their vaccines. Public health experts say that in order to prevent the spread of measles, roughly 93-95% of a population must be vaccinated.
There are lots of different reasons why these measles outbreaks are happening, but health experts say the backslide has a lot to do with vaccine hesitancy. O’Brien said many people in rich countries don’t “value” vaccines as much as they should.
“In some places we do see a complacency of parents, families, communities, and leaders to say these are diseases that we don’t see anymore, and this is not of high value,” she said. “It’s not worth spending time, energy, and potentially, you know, the discomfort of your child to get a vaccination.”
“We will continue to see an escalation of cases unless substantial and significant action is taken,” O’Brien said.