WHO warns of measles in Europe

The World Health Organization recently warned that cases of the measles are on the rise in Europe and urged people to get vaccinated in order to prevent it from spreading.

The WHO European Region announced that it has recorded more than 12,000 measles cases between January and May, more than were recorded for all of 2010. France is seeing the worst outbreak with more than 7,000 cases, according to the

The agency issued the warning that, unless people were immunized, the situation could get dramatically worse. The summer months may exacerbate the outbreaks since there are more public gatherings where the virus can be contracted.

The WHO is urgently recommending all people check their immunization records regardless of their summer travel plans.

Recent measles outbreaks in the United States have caused concern among national public health experts. The health department reported that the U.S. had about 58 cases of the measles on average annually from 2001 to 2008, reports. Between January 1 and May 20, there have been 118 confirmed cases of the illness. Ninety percent of the cases were in people who had not received the vaccination.

Measles symptoms can include fever, cough, runny nose and red and watery eyes. Symptoms usually appear eight to 12 days after exposure to the virus. A rash generally appears in measles cases, but not until several days after the initial symptoms.

Measles infection is spread through contact with droplets from the nose, mouth or throat. Sneezing or coughing propels the droplets into the air, according to the National Institutes of Health.

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