The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed that the United Kingdom (UK) has lost its measles-free status three years after the virus was eradicated.
Over the last decade, there has been a steady decline in the use of the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine in the European country, which has eventually led to a surge in the number of measles cases.
Officials reported that there were more than 230 measles cases across the four nations of the UK in January, February, and March.
In 2015, the WHO decided to declare the UK a measles-free nation. However, the term “measles-free” does not mean the virus is completely eradicated. In fact, it means there have been no epidemics for a certain period.
The WHO said this is no longer the case with the UK. The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has reported that more than 170 million children went unvaccinated across the globe from 2010 to 2017. Of which, more than 527,000 were from the UK alone.
The officials found that only 87 percent of children in the UK have got their second MMR shot, which is well below the required rate to develop herd immunity in the public.
Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been urging social media platforms to come up with more campaigns to stop the spread of incorrect information by anti-vaxxers.
According to the Guardian, Johnson said, “After a period of progress where we were once able to declare Britain measles-free, we’ve now seen hundreds of cases of measles in the UK this year. One case of this horrible disease is too many, and I am determined to step up our efforts to tackle its spread.”
He added, “From reassuring parents about the safety of vaccines to making sure people are attending follow-up appointments, we can and must do more to halt the spread of infectious, treatable diseases in modern-day Britain.” Some policies, such as ‘no jab, no school,’ have been implemented in several countries across the world, which have increased the number of vaccination in children.