Sunday, December 4, 2011

WHO Weighs in on European Measles Outbreak

The WHO, through an issue of their publication the Weekly Epidemiological Record, has announced that 26,000 cases of measles have occurred throughout Europe from January 2011 to October 2011. This figure is a steep rise from any previous and indicates the possibility of a continued outbreak of the deadly disease. They have placed blame mainly on fallout from the autism-vaccine controversy created by Andrew Wakefield and failure by European governments to properly enforce vaccinations as over 90% of cases where in unvaccinated people or people of unknown status. European governments have already begun responding to the outbreak, with France launching a high-profile campaign to drive up vaccination rates in reaction to 6 deaths and 14,000 cases experienced there.
These cases present a rather large set-back for the established goal of eliminating measles in Europe by 2015 and for world-wide eradication. Indeed, the European outbreak has also been tied to international outbreaks as a result of infected travelers to foreign countries. This just goes to show that the existence of a highly effective vaccine and even strong political will does not guarantee effective control of a disease.

-Zachary Herrera


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