The recent epidemic of measles in the EU was one of items for discussion at an EU scientific conference on infectious diseases in Stockholm. Marina Yannakoudakis MEP, Conservative spokesman for Health in the European Parliament, addressed the closing session of the conference and made special reference to how vaccine-preventable diseases, especially measles, are on the rise across the EU.

Marina said: “Measles is back in a big way. In 2010 alone, more than 30,000 cases of measles were reported in the EU. Measles is highly infectious and, contrary to popular belief, far from harmless. For every 5,000 individuals with measles, one is very likely to die and as many as a quarter of measles patients need hospitalisation.”

Marina, who also serves as the European Parliament’s contact point with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) went on to say: “As the old saying goes: prevention is better than cure. Parents should ensure that their children are vaccinated against measles. In the UK this means getting two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. MMR jabs are safe and not immunising children is putting them more at risk.”

Outbreaks of measles across Europe in recent years have shown that far too many parents are not immunising their children. France is experiencing a true measles epidemic with around 15,000 cases of measles in France already this year. The UK’s Health Protection Agency has also reported that cases of measles in England and Wales have increased by nearly 750%.

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