WHO press release: European Region loses ground in effort to eliminate measles

29 August, 2019

Extracts and a comment from me below.

European Region loses ground in effort to eliminate measles

http://www.euro.who.int/en/media-centre/sections/press-releases/2019/eur...

Contact: reynendekatc@who.int

Press release

Copenhagen 29 August 2019

Following several years of steady progress toward elimination of measles in the WHO European Region, the number of countries having achieved or sustained elimination of the disease has declined. This was the conclusion of the European Regional Verification Commission for Measles and Rubella Elimination (RVC) based on an assessment of annual status updates for 2018 submitted by the 53 Member States of the Region.

The RVC determined that for the first time since the verification process began in the Region in 2012, 4 countries (Albania, Czechia, Greece and the United Kingdom) lost their measles elimination status.

“Re-establishment of measles transmission is concerning. If high immunization coverage is not achieved and sustained in every community, both children and adults will suffer unnecessarily and some will tragically die,” says Dr Günter Pfaff, Chair of the RVC...

The surge in cases that began in 2018 has continued into 2019, with approximately 90 000 cases reported for the first half of the year. This is already more than that recorded for the whole of 2018 (84 462)...

“Great efforts to control this highly contagious disease have brought us a long way towards regional elimination. However, ongoing measles outbreaks demonstrate that more is needed. Through activation of the emergency response, WHO has increased its focus on measles elimination and upgraded its action. This is the time and opportunity to address any underlying health system, social determinants and societal challenges that may have allowed this deadly virus to persist in this Region,” says Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe...

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Comment (NPW): It is surprising that this press release does not mention the issue of vaccine hesitancy, which is probably the main underlying cause of reversal of progress.

Best wishes, Neil

Coordinator, HIFA Project on Information for Citizens, Parents and Children

http://www.hifa.org/projects/citizens-parents-and-children

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org