- Title: Global measles cases three times higher than last year - WHO
- Date: 28th August 2019
- Summary: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND (AUGUST 28, 2019) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO) DEPARTMENT OF IMMUNIZATION, VACCINES AND BIOLOGICALS DIRECTOR, DR KATE O'BRIEN, SAYING: "We have a worrying trend that all regions are experiencing an increase in measles, except for the region of the Americas, which has seen a small decline. So we have countries which have low vaccination coverage, which is contributing to the outbreaks of measles, but we are also seeing countries that have very high measles vaccination coverage, and yet outbreaks are happening, and the reason is that even in a national setting where coverage is very high at the national level, there can be small pockets, communities of people, where the vaccination coverage in that particular community is low and insufficient to prevent an outbreak."
- Embargoed: 11th September 2019 18:15
- Keywords: misinformation WHO measles vaccines Madagascar virus United States United Nations DRC
- Location: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND/ UNIDENTIFIED LOCATION/ NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES/ BELGRADE, SERBIA/ KASAI PROVINCE, DRC/ FORT DAUPHIN, MADAGASCAR
- City: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND/ UNIDENTIFIED LOCATION/ NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES/ BELGRADE, SERBIA/ KASAI PROVINCE, DRC/ FORT DAUPHIN, MADAGASCAR
- Country: Switzerland
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA007AU9TGZR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The world is backsliding in the fight against measles, which can disable or kill, especially children, with a record number of cases recorded up to August only since 2006 and nearly three times as many cases than in July 2018 at that time, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday (August 29).
The biggest outbreaks of the highly contagious disease -- one person with measles can spread it up to 18 non-immunized other people -- are raging in the Democratic Republic of Congo (155,460 cases), Madagascar (127,454) and Ukraine (54,246) it said.
Europe has lost ground also, with four countries stripped off their "measles-free" status in 2018 -- Albania, Czech Republic, Greece and Britain, WHO said.
The United States has recorded 1,215 measles cases across 30 states in its worst outbreak since 1992, federal health officials said on Monday.
Nearly 365,000 cases have been reported globally this year, the highest figure since 2006, according to the U.N. Health Agency, noting that they represent only a fraction of the 6.7 million estimated cases annually.
A vaccine-preventable disease, measles caused an estimated 109,000 deaths in 2017, figures for 2018 won't be known before November.
Weak health systems, a lack of vaccines in some areas, and complacency towards the disease, leading people to believe that since it has been eliminated there is no need to get vaccinated, are behind the surge, WHO says.
Trust in vaccines -- one of the world's most effective and widely-used medical products -- is highest in poor countries but weaker in wealthier ones where scepticism has allowed outbreaks of diseases such as measles to persist, a global study found in June.
In 53 countries of Europe, 90,000 measles cases were recorded in the first half of this year, more than that for all of 2018, according to WHO.
(Production: Marina Depetris)
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