8 die of measles in Ukraine this year as outbreak worsens

Posted at 7:13 AM, Feb 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-13 07:13:22-05

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Authorities say eight people have died of measles in Ukraine since the start of the year, already half as many as died in the whole of 2018.

The Health Ministry said in a statement Wednesday that two deaths from the extremely contagious viral disease have been recorded since Saturday. Last week alone, more than 3,100 people went down with measles, half of them children.

The World Health Organization's data showed that Ukraine logged 53,000 confirmed cases last year, accounting for more than half of all cases in Europe.

Skyrocketing measles rates in Ukraine are believed to be due to vaccine refusal as well as a temporary breakdown in vaccine orders by the government a few years ago.