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Death Toll At 17 Since September 2016 In Romania Measles Outbreak

Health experts are urging parents to have their children vaccinated.

At least 17 children have died and thousands more have been infected since September 2016 in an outbreak of measles in Romania, the Health Ministry says.

Health Minister Florian Bodog on March 11 said some 3,400 people had contracted the disease since the outbreak began last year.

He added that none of the children who died from the virus had been vaccinated. The latest victim was a 1-year-old girl in the city of Satu Mare.

The World Health Organization has recommended two doses of vaccination, with the initial one coming by a child's first birthday.

Bodog said only 80 percent of Romanians receive the first dose and just 50 percent receive the second.

It "is the only effective way to prevent the disease," he said.

Authorities say most of the cases have been reported in the western and southwestern parts of the country.

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control warned that there was a “high” risk of measles spreading from Romania to nearby countries.

Based in reporting by AP and AFP