The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control says the number of measles cases across Europe increased threefold over the course of last year. The disease is continuing to cause new outbreaks due to low rates of immunisation.
There were 14,451 measles cases reported to the European Surveillance System by 30 EU/EEA countries, three times the number of cases reported in 2016.
“The spike was due to epidemics in Romania, Italy, Greece and Germany,” Business Insider writes.
The disease is highly contagious but preventable with vaccination. Spikes are being seen in children and young adults in Britain, France and Sweden.
In the UK, only 91.9 per cent of children were vaccinated against measles between 2015 and 2016 compared to 94.2 per cent in 2014 to 2015 and 94.3 per cent in 2013 to 2014, according to NHS immunisation statistics published by the Daily Mail.
Fifty deaths have been attributed to measles in Europe since 2016. In order to prevent outbreaks, vaccination rates of at least 95 percent are needed. In most countries the vaccination is available as part of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) jab. It is available free on the NHS.