The World Health Organization said on Thursday Europe had a record number of measles cases in 2018, in part due to a growing number of pockets where parents are refusing vaccination for their children.
Statewide in Washington, orders for measles vaccine jumped about 30 percent in January compared with the same month a year ago, climbing from 12,140 doses to 15,780 doses, figures showed.
Meanwhile, Ukraine had the highest rate of measles cases in Europe, at 1,209 per one million population - 10 times the country's rate in 2017.
At present there are at least 50 confirmed cases of measles in the area, with another dozen or so suspected. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if a person has measles, 90 per cent of those in proximity will also contract the virus unless they have been vaccinated or are immune.
That helps explain why public health officials get so concerned when outbreaks occur, which they have been with increasing frequency in recent years. But they have their eyes on the 17 states, including many already dealing with outbreaks today, that allow vaccine exemptions for both religious and personal beliefs - expanding the pool of unvaccinated beyond those who are simply medically ineligible for them.
According to the Washington Post, at least 55 people in Washington and neighboring OR have gotten sick with the virus, with new cases tallied nearly daily.
The most serious complications from severe measles include blindness, encephalitis (an infection that causes brain swelling), diarrhoea and dehydration, and severe respiratory infections, according to WHO.
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In NSW there have been 11 cases of Measles since Christmas.
Measles, a highly contagious viral disease common among children, causes a rash and high fever. It can be prevented by the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine...
The number of people infected with measles was an alarming 15 times higher than the lowest figure recorded back in 2016. Of those, 72 cases were fatal.
The surge in measles cases in 2018 followed a year in which the European Region achieved its highest ever estimated coverage for the second dose of measles vaccination (90% in 2017).
MMR vaccine rates in two areas in the Pacific Northwest, which has been at the epicenter of a measles outbreak, are surging as people rush to protect themselves and their children from the virus.
"The picture for 2018 makes it clear that the current pace of progress in raising immunisation rates will be insufficient to stop measles circulation".
"We can not achieve healthier populations globally, as promised in WHO's vision for the coming five years, if we do not work locally", Jakab said.