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Measles Cases Soaring Worldwide as WHO Reports Alarming 45-Fold Rise in Europe

In recent weeks, there have been alerts about measles in various parts of Australia, triggered by a small number of cases in travelers returning from abroad. Although larger measles outbreaks are occurring globally, including in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe, the likelihood of a significant outbreak in Australia is considered low. Nevertheless, the importance of sustaining high vaccination coverage is emphasized to mitigate the risk. Measles, a highly contagious viral disease, spreads through respiratory droplets, leading to symptoms such as fever, runny nose, fatigue, and a characteristic rash. Severe complications, including pneumonia and encephalitis, can arise, posing potential threats to life. The two-dose MMR vaccine, administered at 12 and 18 months, stands out as the most effective means of protection against measles. Despite its efficacy, a global decline in childhood vaccinations has been observed during the COVID-19 pandemic, attributed to factors like diminishing trust, misinformation, and disruptions in access. While Australia currently hovers close to the herd immunity threshold, maintaining vigilance, surveillance, and intensifying efforts to bolster immunization coverage, particularly among young children, remains imperative to avert potential outbreaks. Educating the public about the significance of MMR vaccines and continuous monitoring of international transit points are pivotal aspects of ensuring ongoing public health safety.

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