Cases of measles in Europe have hit a record high, according to the World Health Organization. In 2017, there were 23,927 reported cases yet the year before, only 5,273. Why? Specialists say that the surge is due to a decrease in the number of people being vaccinated.
The Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination has been surrounded by an air of controversy since being linked to autism in 1998, when a study of 12 children published in The Lancet linked the MMR jab to the development of autism. That research has since been discredited and two major studies have been published subsequently which also failed to prove any link.
So far, there have been 807 cases in England this year. Public Health England have stated that outbreaks in England are largely due to people who have travelled to areas of mainland Europe that have had outbreaks.
How do measles spread?
Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that appears as a rash with cold-like symptoms. It spreads via droplets in coughs and sneezes.
The infection lasts seven to 10 days. But while most people recover completely, it can cause some serious complications, including:
Encephalitis (infection and swelling of the brain)
Liver infection (hepatitis)
What are the symptoms of measles?
Inflamed eyes (conjunctivitis)
Tiny white spots with bluish-white centres on a red background found inside the mouth on the inner lining of the cheek — also called Koplik's spots
Measles are unpleasant, but normally pass in around 7 to 10 days without causing any further problems. On the upside, once you have had measles, your body builds up resistance to the virus and it's extremely unlikely you'll ever have them again.
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