Measles kill 11 people in Ukraine

The recent outbreak of measles in Ukraine have claimed at least the lives of at least 11 people and more than 30,000 have been infected this year.

The latest victim was a nine-year-old girl who died from complications Saturday after contracting the highly infectious disease, the health ministry said.

Authorities blame a combination of factors including shortages of vaccine and cuts to health services amid an economic slowdown exacerbated by a five-year conflict with Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The anti-vaccination sentiment, often driven by online campaigns spreading false information about the alleged risks, also plays a role.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a 95-percent vaccination rate to prevent mass hospitalisations and fatalities.

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But in Ukraine, just 42 percent of one-year-olds had been vaccinated as of end-2016, according to the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF.

 

Europe as a whole saw nearly 83,000 cases last year, according to WHO figures.

Measles is characterised by high fever and a reddish rash. It usually triggers only mild symptoms but remains one of the leading causes of death among young children globally.

Source: AFP

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