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Monday 18th June 2018

UK worst for measles

7th January 2009

A study has identified the UK as one of the worst countries in Europe for measles.


The findings by The Lancet have revealed that of the 12,000 cases in Europe in 2006/07, most of them were in Britain and four other nations.

The level of cases mean there are serious doubts about hitting the World Health Organisation target of eradicating the disease by next year.

In the UK, vaccination levels are at 85% and below the WHO target of 95%.

The Lancet comments that the UK is still recovering slowly from claims, since unsubstantiated, linking the triple MMR vaccine to autism.

The study identified 12,132 recorded cases and all were in countries dogged by poor vaccine uptake. Alongside the UK, cases were found in Romania, Italy, Switzerland and Germany.

There were seven deaths in that figure, including one in this country.

The study authors, led by Dr Mark Muscat from the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, said: "The suboptimum vaccination coverage raises serious doubts that the goal of elimination by 2010 can be attained.

"Achievement and maintenance of optimum vaccination coverage, and improved surveillance, are the cornerstones of the measles elimination plan for Europe."

In the UK, despite the original research which cast doubt on the safety of MMR being discredited, vaccination rates have not risen back to previous levels.

The Department of Health is currently working to boost MMR uptake.

A spokesman said: "Measles can be serious but it is preventable, and delivery of this important programme is essential."


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