Measles cases in Europe quadruple as vaccination rates drop

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<img alt="<em>Measles is known for causing rashes — like the one affecting this child in the Philippines</em>" data-portal-copyright="Photo: Jim Goodson, M.P.H./CDC” data-has-syndication-rights=”1″ data-focal-region=”x1:294,y1:176,×2:406,y2:288″ src=”https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/0ctyeZrMZkE7D1CeeBNcPR9fXQs=/3×0:698×463/1310×873/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/58800323/19433_lores.0.jpg” />

Measles has made a dangerous comeback in Europe as vaccination rates have dropped, the World Health Organization says. Compared to 2016, the number of infections quadrupled to more than 21,000 cases across Europe in 2017. Thirty-five people died.

The outbreaks hit 15 European countries — with especially large ones hammering Romania with 5,562 infections, Italy with 5,006, and Ukraine with 4,767. In a statement, the WHO’s regional director for Europe, Zsuzsanna Jakab, called it “a tragedy we simply cannot accept.”

Measles is a contagious and potentially deadly virus that’s preventable, thanks to the safe and effective MMR vaccine. But vaccination rates are down in parts of Europe, the WHO says. That leaves people who opted out of the…

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