Cases of measles have increased in the European countries in which vaccination coverage has fallen below the critical level of 95 per cent. The highest numbers of new infections are in Italy and Romania. In Romania, measles has infected thousands of people, and 17 children have died since September.
More than 500 cases of measles have been diagnosed in Europe in January. The countries with the most cases include France, Germany, Italy, Romania, Poland, Switzerland and Ukraine. In Italy, the number of cases during the early part of the year is three times higher than in the corresponding period last year. The Italian public health authorities believe the decrease in vaccination coverage is due to parents being concerned about the side effects of vaccines.
The WHO warns that no-one and no country is safe from measles. In Finland, the National Institute for Health and Welfare (in Finnish) issued a warning in January, stating that a measles epidemic is also possible in Finland.