Ukraine measles outbreak kills 11, infects 30,000


Eleven people have died and more than 30,000 have been infected this year in a major measles outbreak in Ukraine, the European country worst hit by the infection, Kiev cited Monday.

The latest victim was a nine-year-old girl who died from complications Saturday after having the highly infectious disease. Some 30,500 people, including 17,000 children, have been diseased so far this year.

Authorities noted scarcities of vaccine in previous years and anti-vaccination sentiment, often driven by online campaigns spreading false information about the alleged risks, were the main reasons behind the epidemic.

The World Health Organization (WHO) endorses a 95-percent vaccination rate to prevent mass hospitalizations and fatalities. But in Ukraine, just 42 percent of one-year-olds had been vaccinated at the year end of 2016, conferring to the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF.

Measles cases more than triplicated across Europe in 2018, with Ukraine accounting for most of the gain. Europe entirely saw nearly 83,000 cases last year, according to WHO figures.

The Ukrainian government informed of 54,000 cases in 2018. There were 16 deaths nationwide.

Authorities in 2019 created a special campaign having sent mobile vaccination teams to rural schools in two western regions particularly hard-hit areas by the outbreak.

Measles has symptoms of high fever and a reddish rash. Usually triggers only mild symptoms but remains one of the leading causes of death among young children globally.

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