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Measles used to be a childhood disease everyone got it is usually unpleasant but mild, but measles can be fatal in some cases. Now that measles is a disease that we vaccinate against, few people think about it at all. But measles cases have been increasing throughout Europe, and the World Health Organization has warned that countries have to act now to make sure it doesn't spread. Has your child received the MMR vaccine?

A World Health Organization report on measles says that there have been over 26,000 cases of measles in 36 European countries between January and October this year. France had 14,000 cases of measles, and 83 percent of all the report cases came from Western Europe. In England and Wales, cases of the measles shot up from only 374 in 2010 to nearly 1,000 between January and October this year. Nine people have died as a result of measles (six in France), and over 7,000 were hospitalized. What has caused these outbreaks? Could it have anything to do with rejecting vaccines?

The cases of measles reported mostly occurred among those who had not been vaccinated or those whose immunization status was not known this was true of over 90 percent of the recorded cases. In France, a country-wide campaign to encourage parents to vaccinate their children for measles (with the MMR vaccine) is now underway.

According to Jean-Yves Grall, the Director-General for Health in that country, "France can simply not afford to have deaths, painful and costly hospitalizations, disruptions to work and school from a completely vaccine-preventable disease." The Health Protection Agency from England and Wales is making similar efforts. They stated: "Anyone who missed out on MMR as a child will continue to be at risk of measles, which explains why we are continuing to see cases in a broad age range." "

We are again reminding parents and young adults of the importance of immunization. We cannot stress enough that measles is serious and in some cases it can be fatal. Measles is a highly infectious and potentially dangerous illness which spreads very easily. Whether you stay here in the UK or travel abroad it is crucial that individuals who may be at risk are fully immunized." Remember, you can get vaccinated at any age. If you or your children have not been vaccinated with the MMR that protects from measles, now may be a good time for Well Baby Visits or a trip to your doctor.

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