Measles cases in Europe more than tripled in 2017

The number of measles cases skyrocketed in Europe last year to more than triple the number reported in 2016, health officials said. The increase was driven by gaps in vaccination coverage that have caused outbreaks in several countries.

According to recently published data, in 2017, there were 14,451 cases of measles reported to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) by 30 countries, far exceeding the 4,643 cases reported in 2016.

The ECDC said 50 people in Europe have died from measles since the beginning of 2016. It said the number of reported cases in 2017 may be underestimated, particularly in Romania, where a large outbreak is ongoing.

Italy, Greece and Germany also have seen a high number of cases, and outbreaks are still occurring in France, the United Kingdom and Sweden, according to the ECDC. The agency said the surge in measles cases has been caused by suboptimal vaccination coverage. Among infected patients in 2017 whose vaccination status was known, 87% were unvaccinated.

According to health officials, the number of measles cases in Europe more than tripled in 2017 compared with 2016.

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“Measles affects all age groups across Europe, and according to the data for 2017 in the monthly measles and rubella monitoring report, 45% of measles cases with known age were aged 15 years or older — highlighting gaps in cohorts of individuals that missed out [on] vaccination,” the ECDC said on its website. “However, the highest incidence of cases was reported in infants below 1 year of age — those most at risk of severe complications and deaths — and too young to have received the first dose of the vaccine.”

Measles has caused recent outbreaks in the United States, too, including dozens of cases in Minnesota that were linked to anti-vaccine rhetoric. Health officials in New Jersey and Illinois recently warned travelers about potential exposure to measles at two airports.

Measles is one of the most contagious infectious diseases. According to the CDC, receiving two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is about 97% effective at preventing infection and one dose is around 93% effective. – by Gerard Gallagher

Reference:

ECDC. Measles cases in the EU treble in 2017, outbreaks still ongoing. 2018. https://ecdc.europa.eu/en/news-events/measles-cases-eu-treble-2017-outbreaks-still-ongoing. Accessed February 13, 2018.

Should I Vaccinate My Children?

Childhood vaccines are used to protect children from a range of serious illnesses such as polio, measles, diphtheria, tetanus, and meningitis. Practically everyone in the medical community unequivocally advocates custody for young children, but the issue has become complicated in recent years. For new parents, it is difficult to ignore the recent controversies generated by those who are opposed to vaccinations. A few high-profile celebrities, along with a growing grassroots movement, have made their vaccine refusal a big issue in the media, and this has many new parents wondering what they should do.

The anti-vaccine claims

Anti-vaccine advocates use a number of different arguments. Perhaps the largest one is the idea that vaccines cause more problems than they prevent. The argument is that a child's immune system has trouble reacting to the onslaught of chemicals contained in a typical vaccine, and that this can lead to adverse effects and may cause issues such as autism. Meanwhile, many in the anti-vaccine community also argue that vaccination is part of some sort of conspiracy in the medical industry to force their products upon people.

While these arguments may raise some interesting issues-and every parent does have a right to be skeptical about these things-most in the medical community would agree that these concerns are baseless. With regard to the autism claim in particular, no scientific research has found a link between autism and vaccines. In some cases, autism may develop soon after a child receives his or her vaccinations, but this is just a coincidence.

Another argument is that it is safer for children to develop natural immunity rather than receive a vaccination. While this may be true for illnesses such as the flu or the common cold, the diseases kids are vaccinated against life-threatening and can have disastrous consequences. Before we had vaccinations, these diseases were a large reason for higher rates of childhood death and lower life expectancies. Most of us would rather not go back to those times.

Should you vaccinate?

The anti-vaccination crowd is probably not going to go away any time soon, but the fact is that the media noise surrounding their movement is disproportionate to the actual number of people who believe these things. In reality, the movement has made no solid claims, and there is no reason for anyone to take their arguments seriously.

What many people do not realize is that the past century has seen a revolution in health, and this is largely thanks to pollution, which has all but eradicated many of the most serious illnesses from the developed world. The anti-vaccination movement comes at a time when we have forgotten what it is like to have to deal with these illnesses. One-hundred years ago, new parents had to worry about their children getting polio, mumps, measles, and numerous other illnesses. And it was not just a remote threat; these diseases were real concerns, and most people had friends, family members, or acquaintances who had been afflicted with them or had lost children, brothers, or sisters to them.

If these illnesses now seem mysterious and remote, it is simply because vaccination has made them that way. So yes, while it is good parenting to question and educate yourself about what your child's doctor does, not vaccinating a child is simply irresponsible. If you still have doubts, ask your doctor to provide you with more information about why vaccination is a good idea.

By Lisa Pecos

Immunizations and Medication: Before You Travel

When traveling to other countries, you're often soon to encounter health-related issues that you will not usually face at home. In order to minimize your chances of becoming ill while traveling, it's important to find out beforehand if any particular immunizations and medicines may be required before traveling to the region you plan to visit. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy a safe and healthy trip:

Make an appointment with your doctor: Visit your local health center or doctor before you travel for the most current information and medication options. Ideally, you should schedule the first appointment for immunizations and travel health advice around five to six weeks before traveling. This is primarily because you generally need to wait for a couple of weeks after the last dose of your immunization program before you're completely protected.

Know which immunizations you need: Knowing which immunizations you require will not depend on your travel destination alone. Your physician will also take other factors into consideration including the duration of your stay, whether you plan to stay in rural areas or stick to the resorts, your vaccination history, any medicines you're taking and any allergies you may have. Regardless of your travel plans, it's important to make sure that you're up with routine immunizations such as polio, tetanus, influenza and childhood diseases including mumps, rubella and measles. In addition, overseas travelers may also need immunization against cholera, hepatitis A and B, rabies, meningococcal meningitis, typhoid, tuberculosis and yellow fever.

Special considerations to keep in mind: Remember that immunizations may not be suitable for everyone. For instance, if you're pregnant, it's better to avoid some immunizations. Children and babies too are a special case for whom you need to consult your doctor. Other special considerations to keep in mind include any reactions that you may have had in the past to immunizations, or if you're immunocompromised (ie you're HIV-positive or taking steroids) for some reason. In such a situation, it's advisable to avoid some immunizations. You can talk about this with your doctor before traveling.

Learn about the side effects: Like any other form of medication, immunizations may have unwanted side effects. These are usually unpleasant as opposed to being dangerous, although serious allergic reactions may occur occasionally. There's no medical evidence to suggest that they can affect your immune system by any means. Some of the most common side effects include soreness in the injection area, sometimes with swelling and redness, and possibly a mild fever or a feeling of not being well.

Many people traveling overseas are worried about the possibility of getting sick. With a bit of advanced planning and preventive measures, you can significantly improve your chances of having a wonderful travel experience.

Vaccines Cleared Again in Autism Risk Debate

Immunizations Cleared- – Again- – in Autism Risk Debate.

Since a 1998 article distributed in the therapeutic diary The Lancet contended that youth antibodies – particularly the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) immunization – can cause a mental imbalance range issue (ASD), talk about has peaked and fallen, ebbed and streamed. Neither the withdrawal of the article- – mostly in 2004 and completely in 2010- – nor the disappointment of any researcher since to repeat writer Andrew Wakefield’s discoveries has deterred some who still trust that a mental imbalance might be caused by antibodies. Actually, not long ago an investigation turned out detailing that guardians who are reluctant to immunize their youngsters – in part or altogether due to the a mental imbalance fear- – are once in a while influenced to change their conclusions even notwithstanding strong logical proof that antibodies don’t cause a mental imbalance.

A great many studies has been distributed in the interceding years affirming no connection amongst antibodies and extreme introvertedness. In the interim, in the midst of developing quantities of families who don’t have their youngsters immunized, flare-ups of measles and other preventable illnesses are on the ascent. This year, measles cases have achieved a 20-year high, and whooping hack was announced a plague in California.

This week, another investigation was distributed, by and by vindicating immunizations of having any causal association with a mental imbalance. Distributed in the diary Pediatrics, the investigation audited a substantial of group of logical discoveries and presumed that guardians ought to be consoled about antibodies’ wellbeing. More from HealthDay News:

The specialists behind the new investigation likewise found no connection between youth leukemia and antibodies for MMR, DTaP (diphtheria, lockjaw and pertussis), lockjaw, flu and hepatitis B.

By and large, immunizations given to youngsters 6 or more youthful are sheltered, causing few symptoms, the audit finished up. The discoveries are distributed in the July 1 online release and the August print issue of the diary Pediatrics.

“We found that the genuine unfriendly impacts connected to immunizations are amazingly uncommon,” said lead creator Margaret Maglione, an arrangement expert at RAND Corporation.

These discoveries ought to give strong help to pediatricians and family doctors in their exchanges with guardians about the advantages and dangers of vaccination, said Dr. Carrie Byington, a teacher of pediatrics and bad habit senior member of scholastic issues and staff advancement at the University of Utah College of Medicine.

In a going with publication, Byington noted late therapeutic school graduates have revealed themselves more distrustful of the security and adequacy of immunizations than did more seasoned graduates.

“I’m cheerful more youthful doctors who have not seen the staggering antibody preventable diseases may see the information and reinforce their will to convey the significance of immunizations to guardians,” Byington said.

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Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Recommended Immunization Schedule for Adults Aged 19 Years or Older — United States, 2018

Changes in the 2018 Adult Immunization Schedule

Zoster Vaccination (2). On October 20, 2017, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of RZV (SHINGRIX, GlaxoSmithKline [GSK]) for adults aged 50 years or older for the prevention of herpes zoster (shingles) and its complications. On October 25, ACIP recommended the use of 1) RZV among immunocompetent adults aged 50 years or older for the prevention of herpes zoster and related complications, 2) RZV among adults aged 50 years or older who previously received the zoster vaccine live (ZVL) (ZOSTAVAX, Merck and Co.), and 3) either RZV or ZVL for adults aged 60 years or older (RZV is preferred). On October 26, 2017, ACIP recommended the following in the 2018 adult immunization schedule:

The clinical trials for RZV excluded pregnancy and confirmed or suspected immunocompromising conditions that can result from disease (e.g., malignancy, HIV infection) or therapy (e.g., cancer chemotherapy, treatment for autoimmune disorders) (36). Therefore, no ACIP recommendation currently exists for use of RZV among pregnant women (health care providers should consider delaying administration of RZV for pregnant women) or adults with immunocompromising conditions, including HIV infection (additional discussions and recommendations by ACIP on the use of RZV in adults with immunocompromising conditions are pending).

Consistent with the existing recommended use of ZVL, ACIP recommended RZV for adults who are receiving low-dose (<20 mg/day of prednisone or equivalent) or short-term (<14 days of corticosteroids) immunosuppressive therapy, are anticipating immunosuppression, or have recovered from an immunocompromising illness (7). The clinical trials for RZV did not exclude adults with non-immunocompromising chronic health conditions (36). Therefore, given the safety and effectiveness profiles of other conjugate vaccines recommended for adults (e.g., hepatitis B and pneumococcal vaccines), ACIP recommended that RZV should routinely be used for age-eligible adults with diabetes mellitus; chronic heart, lung, liver, or kidney disease; functional or anatomical asplenia; or complement deficiencies.

MMR Vaccination (8). On 25 October, ACIP updated MMR vaccination recommendations to include the use of a third dose of a mumps virus–containing vaccine for persons previously vaccinated with 2 doses of a mumps virus–containing vaccine who are identified by public health authorities as being a part of a group or population at risk for acquiring mumps because of an outbreak. During a mumps outbreak, persons identified as being at increased risk and who have received ≤2 doses of mumps virus–containing vaccine or whose mumps vaccination status is unknown should receive 1 dose of MMR. This change is described in the 2018 adult immunization schedule as follows:

Adults without evidence of immunity to mumps (defined as birth before 1957, documentation of receipt of MMR, or laboratory evidence of immunity or disease) are routinely recommended to receive 1 dose of MMR for mumps prevention. However, students in postsecondary educational institutions, international travelers, or household contacts of immunocompromised persons should receive 2 doses of MMR at least 28 days apart. In a mumps outbreak setting, those adults identified by a public health authority to be at risk should receive 1 dose of MMR regardless of whether they previously received 0, 1, or 2 doses of a mumps virus–containing vaccine.

Notable Changes to Figures 1 and 2. The footnotes in the 2018 adult immunization schedule should be used in conjunction with “Figure 1. Recommended immunization schedule for adults aged 19 years or older, by age group” and “Figure 2. Recommended immunization schedule for adults aged 19 years or older by medical condition and other indications.” The footnotes contain additional general information (e.g., dosing intervals for vaccination series) and considerations for special populations (e.g., pregnant women, adults with HIV infection). The footnotes in the adult immunization schedule and the child and adolescent immunization schedule have been harmonized to be more consistent with one another (9). Notable changes in Figures 1 and 2 include the following: