Fatal Europe measles spread prompts vaccination calls

The WHO has reminded people of the importance of vaccination as the measles virus spreads

The World Health Organisation has reiterated the importance of vaccination against measles, as cases of the disease reach record-breaking levels in Europe, including three deaths this year in France.

Since January 2018, the WHO has confirmed 41,000 cases of the virus, which is extremely contagious and can cause death. Symptoms include a high fever, severe cough, extreme fatigue and skin lesions.

One person can infect 20 people, as the virus is spread through the air. While patients will receive pain relief and other treatments to help their symptoms, there is no treatment for the virus itself.

The organisation states that 95% of a given population must be vaccinated against an illness to ensure nationwide immunity. France is at just 80%.

In France, three people have died since January this year, including a 32-year-old mother, who contracted the virus from sick patients in the Poitiers CHU while visiting to fill in some paperwork for her ill father.

Doctors have said that many parents in France appear to be afraid of vaccination; although since January 1 2018, vaccination against measles has been mandatory for all children (along with 10 other vaccinations).

The vaccination was not previously mandatory.

One doctor, Jean-Louis Bavoux, told news source France Info: “I meet more and more parents who are afraid of the hypothetical harmful effects of vaccinations against measles. According to them, it can cause neurological problems or disfigurement.”

Dr Bavoux said that he has had parents and children visit his doctor surgery, who go away “to think about it”, and then never return for the actual vaccinations.

Benoît, a father in the 15th arrondissement of Paris, who is vaccinated along with his children, said: “I find [non-vaccination] stupid. It endangers the lives of others, including people's own children, who themselves could endanger the lives of others. It’s reckless."

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