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Is Your Child At Risk of Measles?

Is Your Child At Risk of Measles?

The World Health Organisation has spoken out about the ‘dangerous’ spread of misinformation that is putting European children at risk.

Hands up who’s read anti-vaccination scare articles? Chances are if you’re a modern woman of childbearing age, you’ve probably seen an article or two on Facebook, recommending some kind of fruit tea as a stand-in for immunisation against potentially deadly childhood diseases. So what?

Major outbreaks of measles are sweeping parts of Europe, that’s what – the World Health Organisation warned last week1. In fact 17 people have died from measles in Romania since January 2016, and Italy has seen some 200 cases already in 2017. Anti-vaccination movements are said to be largely responsible for this trend in countries like Italy.

Public health experts say due to the prevalence of international travel these days, no person or nation is beyond the reach of the highly infectious disease. In fact the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control reported that in the year 2016-2017, the United Kingdom reported 575 measles cases.2

Dr Tim Davies, head of screening and immunisation for NHS England, said: “Children who are vaccinated are very likely to be protected…The more important issue is for children who can’t be vaccinated because they’re too young. For example, you might get children under one contracting measles and you don’t want that.”3

What’s the fuss about vaccines?
Nearly 20 years ago, British doctor Andrew Wakefield published a now-discredited study claiming to demonstrate a connection between the MMR vaccine (for measles, mumps and rubella) and autism. Extensive scientific research, including a sweeping 2014 study employing data from over 1.2 million children, has since concluded that there is no link between vaccines and autism. In fact, Dr Wakefield’s report was found to be fraudulent, and he was struck off the medical register.

Nevertheless the mud, for some parents, stuck. In fact Public Health England reports that around 24,000 children each year are said to be at risk of measles, mumps and rubella because they have not been vaccinated4.

It is advised that countries have at least a 95% vaccination rate to guard against outbreaks. Most of the measles cases have occurred in places where rates of immunisation have fallen below this marker – Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Switzerland and Romania5.

Measles is 600% more contagious than flu. In 1 in 5 measles cases, complications ensue, including deafness, pneumonia, and even death.

Is it really worth the risk?

REFERENCES

 [1] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/measles-outbreak-europe-spread-parents-vaccinations-anti-vaxxers-who-world-health-organisation-a7655591.html
 [2] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39419976
 [3] http://www.lincolnshirelive.co.uk/1-in-14-lincolnshire-children-miss-a-vaccination-and-they-could-put-your-child-at-risk/story-30169846-detail/story.html
 [4] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/measles-outbreak-europe-spread-parents-vaccinations-anti-vaxxers-who-world-health-organisation-a7655591.html
 [5] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39419976

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