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WHO calls for more measles vaccinations

The World Health Organization has called on European countries, and Switzerland and Great Britain in particular, to step up their measles vaccination campaigns.

WHO said greater vaccinations were needed as epidemics were rising and crossing national borders. The number of cases had fallen in Europe in 2007 but rose again in the following year. There have been more than 8,000 cases reported in Europe in the last 12 months.

The call comes as the Federal Health Office announced that measles was continuing to spread in Switzerland.

More than 200 new cases were reported in the first eight weeks of 2009, according to statistics released by the health office on Monday.

A total of 3,500 cases have been confirmed since the start of the epidemic in Switzerland in November 2006, 500 of which had led to complications and to some sufferers being hospitalised.

Around 86 per cent of Swiss children aged two years old are vaccinated against measles, the health office said.

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