Measles no longer considered eradicated in four EU countries, including the UK 11 months ago

Measles no longer considered eradicated in four EU countries, including the UK

The number of cases has increased dramatically across the continent.

The World Health Organisation have released new figures revealing that four European countries are no longer considered to be measles-free.

Countries are declared measles-free when there is no endemic transmission for 12 months in a specific geographic area, and now the disease is no longer considered eradicated in Albania, the Czech Republic, Greece and the UK.

Kate O'Brien of the WHO's Immunisation Department told BBC News: "We are backsliding, we are on the wrong track. This is the alarm bell that is ringing around the world: being able to achieve high national coverage is not enough, it has to be achieved in every community, and every family for every child."

According to the data released by the WHO, nearly 90,000 cases and 37 deaths were reported across 48 of the 53 countries in the WHO European region in the first six months of 2019.

Almost 365,000 cases have been reported worldwide in 2019 so far, which is almost three times as many as in the first half of 2018.

Professor Martin Marshall, vice-chair of the Royal College of GP, told The Guardian: "It is clear that we are still suffering from entirely debunked claims around MMR that were perpetuated in the '90s and are now resurgent on social media and other online platforms.

"It is disheartening to see these findings at a time when we and other countries across Europe were on the way towards completely eradicating measles, a potentially deadly but entirely preventable disease."