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Measles outbreak facts outweigh scare stories

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EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis rightly says it is unacceptable to hear children are dying from a disease where safe and cost-effective vaccines are available. (Stock photo)

EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis rightly says it is unacceptable to hear children are dying from a disease where safe and cost-effective vaccines are available. (Stock photo)

EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis rightly says it is unacceptable to hear children are dying from a disease where safe and cost-effective vaccines are available. (Stock photo)

Ireland isn't the only country where vaccination levels are dropping. Across Europe, unsubstantiated scare stories about vaccines have had a negative effect on immunisation schemes - and are putting children at risk.

The problem is getting worse.

Gaps in vaccination coverage against measles have been blamed for the outbreaks of the highly contagious disease in not just children but young adults.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reported that in the first two months of the year, more than 1,500 measles cases were recorded in 14 European countries.

This was due to "an accumulation of unvaccinated individuals". It said that in 10 countries - Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, Spain and Sweden - the number of cases reported in January-February 2017 was more than double that of the first two months of 2016.

EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis rightly says it is unacceptable to hear children are dying from a disease where safe and cost-effective vaccines are available.

The ECDC expressed particular concern about the outbreaks in older age groups, along with children.

It revealed one-in-three cases of measles in Europe in 2015 and 2016 was in adults over 20 years of age.

Parents taking their children abroad on holidays now have to be aware of the impact of this "accumulation".

A number of countries are reporting large measles outbreaks, including Britain and Italy.

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These are not scare stories. These are facts.

Parents who refuse to vaccinate risk their children becoming part of the statistics.


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