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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Measles outbreaks spread across Europe: European Immunization Week offers chance to promote immunization

From WHO's Europe Regional Office, media release, excerpt :

" Copenhagen, 20 April 2011

Thirty countries in WHO’s European Region have reported a marked increase in measles cases, with 6 500 so far in 2011. Epidemiological investigations and genotyping by laboratories confirm exportation of the virus among several countries in the Region and to other regions of the world. Outbreaks and the further spread of measles are likely to continue so long as people remain unimmunized or do not get immunized on time according to the routine immunization schedule. An increase in international travel during the Easter holidays will further increase the risk of exportation and importation of measles.

This provides a compelling reason to promote European Immunization Week (EIW), which runs from 23 to 30 April 2011. This year, more than 50 countries will take part in the initiative, the largest number since EIW began in 2005.

“With shared borders and considerable population movement, countries share health threats,” said Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “There is a need to create strong partnerships to prevent and control diseases, such as measles, in our Region. European Immunization Week reminds us that there is much to celebrate about the good work already done on immunization, but there also remains a great deal of work to do – and quickly."

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