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The United Kingdom Deals with Increased Rates of Measles

Update Date: May 20, 2013 02:59 PM EDT

Vaccinations are frequently subjected to controversy with some parents choosing not to vaccinate their infants and toddlers due to the fear of causing other potential diseases. In over a decade ago in the United Kingdom, the vaccine in question was the measles shots. Due to fears that this vaccine could lead to autism, at least one million children never received the shot that would protect them from the infection. Now, more and more research has discredited the old myth that the measles vaccine causes autism, forcing health officials and medical professionals to find ways of preventing a mass epidemic of measles from spreading.

The growing concerns over a huge measles outbreak in the United Kingdom are prompted by the increasing rate of cases per year. Within this year alone, there have already been over 1,200 cases of measles and last year's record was 2,000. The United Kingdom is now currently second, being Romania, in total number of measles cases per year. Due to these rates, health officials have been playing catch up. Within these past months, there have been emergency vaccination clinics held every week so that more children between the ages of 10 and 16 can be vaccinated.

The new vaccination campaign comes after 15 years since the rumors first started circulating about the vaccination risks. Even though some people still believe this link between the vaccine and autism, more research has been done to disprove it and encourage people to get their children vaccinated. According to the statistics, the majority of people who have fallen ill were never vaccinated from measles. Roughly 20 children out of about 100 were hospitalized and 15 children experienced health complications, such as pneumonia and meningitis. There was one reported adult death, but whether or not the patient died from measles was unknown.

In the United Kingdom, nearly 90 percent of children under five-years-old are vaccinated. This percentage drops to below 50 percent in certain areas of the nation in the age group of 10 to 16. In order to prevent measles from spreading rapidly, countries are recommended to have over 95 percent of the children population vaccinated, which is why it has become a huge part of the health officials' agenda. 

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