Number of measles cases in Europe rising, vaccination rate in Malta 99%
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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has alerted health authorities regarding the increasing number of cases of measles in Europe, urging all countries to step up vaccination cross age groups at risk.
The largest number of cases was reported by Kyrgyzstan with 7,477 cases since May 2014, with over 7,000 cases reported in the first seven weeks of 2015. A significant number of measles cases in 2014 and 2015 have also been reported by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation.
Measles outbreaks continue to occur in Europe, where some susceptible groups are still not immunised or under immunised, especially as growing numbers of parents either refuse to vaccinate their children or face barriers in accessing vaccination. Travel can also increase the risk of exposure to the measles virus.
The Government said that the vaccination coverage rate for Malta, where the measles vaccine is available free of charge on the national schedule and is administered to children aged 13 months and yet again at age 3-4 years, stands at 99%.