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Uptake of Measles vaccine declines in France

Administering a measles vaccination.
Administering a measles vaccination. AFP/Yuri Dyachyshyn

The UN children's agency is concerned after a global surge in measles cases last year. Unicef says just 10 countries, including France, were responsible for 75 per cent of the worldwide increase in cases. 

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Most of the countries that experienced large spikes in the number of cases contained war or conflict zones, with Ukraine, the Philippines and Brazil seeing the largest year-on-year increases.

France stands out among the top ten countries as a relatively rich country where the caseload jumped by 2,269.

"This is a wake-up call," said Henrietta Fore, the executive director of Unicef of the global upsurge. She noted that a "safe, effective and inexpensive vaccine" exists against the disease, which is more contagious than Tuberculosis or Ebola and can cause death.

Growing anti-vaccine movement

The UN says conflict, complacency and the presence of a growing anti-vaccine movement on social media are behind the surge.

The measles vaccine was linked by one study to autism in the 1990s. Any link has since been proved medically baseless after extensive research, but some parents still choose not to vaccinate their children.

The World Health Organization last month listed vaccine hesitancy as among the top 10 most pressing global health threats for 2019.

This after 136,000 cases of measles were recorded in 2018, an increase of 50 per cent compared to 2017.

A few countries, such as Romania and Indonesia, have seen massive drops in the number of measles cases.

Nigeria, Pakistan, Italy and China also saw a decline in reported cases.

French family accused of bringing measles to Costa Rica

A case has hit the headlines recently in France about a French family who went on holiday to Costa Rica.

Their 5-year-old child, who had not been vaccinated, was hospitalised with measles shortly after their arriving.

The family are now being accused of re-introducing the measles virus to Costa Rica, where it had been wiped out.

The last measles case among the people of the country was recorded in 2006.

Most recent case imported by visitors was in 2014.

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