Global Measles Cases Three Times Higher Than Last Year – WHO
Trust in vaccines – among the world’s most effective and widely used medical products – is highest in poorer countries but weaker in wealthier ones where skepticism has allowed outbreaks of diseases such as measles to persist, a global study found in June.
Every region in the world, except the Americas, is experiencing an increase of measles, a vaccine-preventable disease that can kill or disable children, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.
The WHO’s put the blame on weak health systems and misinformation about vaccines, and called on social media outlets and communities to make sure information about preventing the highly contagious disease was accurate.
Nearly three times as many cases were reported from January to July in 2019 than in 2018, the WHO said.
Nearly 365,000 cases have been reported globally in 2019, the highest figure since 2006, it said, noting that they represent only a fraction of the 6.7 million suspected cases. Measles caused an estimated 109,000 deaths in 2017, its most recent figures show.
The biggest outbreaks are raging in the Democratic Republic of Congo (155,460 cases), Madagascar (127,454) and Ukraine (54,246), it said.
Ukraine, which accounts for more than half of the cases, is implementing a robust response, he said. “The ministry of health is doing targeted immunization campaigns … They are also doing school-based vaccination, high-risk vaccination of military recruits and health care workers.”
Europe has also lost ground, with four countries stripped of their “measles-free” status in 2018 – Albania, Czech Republic, Greece and Britain, it said.
Health experts say the virus has spread among school-age children whose parents declined to give them the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, which confers immunity to the disease.
By Stephanie Nebehay August 29, 2019
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