Thu, Aug 30, 2018 - Page 4 News List

CDC warns of measles in Europe

Staff writer, with CNA

As measles cases in Europe have this year reached a 10-year high, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Tuesday urged people planning to visit the region to take precautions, including getting vaccinated against the disease.

From January to June, 41,000 cases of measles were recorded in Europe, more than in any 12-month period this decade, CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said, citing WHO data.

Ukraine has been the hardest-hit, with more than 23,000 cases this year, followed by Serbia with 5,000 cases.

France, Greece, Italy, Russia and Georgia have each recorded more than 1,000 cases.

Measles has also spread in the UK, with about 800 cases reported, while Romania has reported about 600 cases.

Given the growing outbreaks in Russia and Georgia, the CDC has issued a level-1 “watch” travel notice for measles for those two countries.

Low measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination rates are to blame for the huge surge in the number of cases, Lo said, adding that Europe’s immunization rate for the required second MMR vaccine was 90 percent last year, up from 88 percent in 2016, but still less than the WHO recommended level of 95 percent.

People who plan to travel to France, the UK, Greece and Italy should also take precautions, he said.

The MMR vaccine is generally administered to children at about the age of one, CDC doctor Chen Wan-ching (陳婉青) said.

Parents should not take babies younger than one to areas where there has been an outbreak of measles, Chen said, adding that if they must take babies aged six to 12 months to such areas, they should make sure the infants receive the MMR vaccine before departing.

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