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37 deaths as measles cases soar in Europe

The World Health Organisation called for increased immunisation.

A child receives a measles vaccination (AP)
A child receives a measles vaccination (AP)

The World Health Organisation said at least 37 people have died as the number of measles cases in Europe jumped sharply during the first six months of 2018.

The UN agency’s European office said more than 41,000 measles cases were reported in the region during the first half of the year – more than in all 12-month periods so far this decade.

The previous highest annual total was 23,927 cases in 2017. A year earlier, only 5,273 cases were reported.

The agency said half of this year’s total – some 23,000 cases – occurred in Ukraine.

France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Russia and Serbia also had more than 1,000 infections each.

The agency called for better surveillance and increased immunisation rates to prevent the disease from becoming endemic.



From Belfast Telegraph