Health Care

Worldwide Measles surge to 23-year high in 2019, killing over 200,000

Worldwide Measles surge to 23-year high in 2019, killing over 200,000”

Of countries with delayed immunization services this year, only eight have restarted: Brazil, Central African Republic, Congo, Ethiopia, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines and Somalia.

The report said the main reason for the increase is because of a collective failure to fully immunise children with two doses of the measles vaccine on time.

"This year, there have been fewer cases, but the COVID-19 pandemic has further set back vaccination efforts, with more than 94 million people at risk of missing measles vaccines in 26 countries that have paused their vaccination campaigns, including many countries with ongoing outbreak", World Health Organization said.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, said the data sends "a clear message that we are failing to protect children from measles in every region of the world".

He described the "alarming" measles report was "a warning that, with the COVID-19 pandemic occupying health systems across the world, we can not afford to take our eye off the ball". It says vaccination coverage remains well below the 95 percent needed to control the disease and prevent outbreaks and deaths. Vaccination coverage with just two measles vaccines has increased between approximately 70% and 85 percent worldwide.

Since 2000, M&RI has helped deliver over 5.5 billion doses of measles vaccine to children worldwide and saved over 25.5 million lives by increasing vaccination coverage, responding to outbreaks, monitoring, and evaluation, and supporting demand for the vaccine.

After steady global progress from 2010 to 2016, the number of reported measles cases climbed progressively to 2019. The report published on Thursday raises fears that the disease will spread in the near future due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted immunization and detection.

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"Measles knows no borders, and it is imperative we work together to vaccinate more children and continue the fight against this preventable disease". Many outbreaks, including 25 in the United States previous year, originated with travelers from other countries.

They say that 95 per cent of a population needs to be immune in order to prevent outbreaks from occurring.

Robb Linkins, an epidemiologist at the CDC, who is the present chair of the Measles and Rubella Initiative's management team said on the alarming situation that the measles mortality rate in high-income countries like the United States is "virtually nil", because general health is already good and the healthcare system is robust. "Infections are not only a sign of poor measles vaccination coverage, but also a known marker, or 'tracer, ' that vital health services may not be reaching populations most at-risk".

This and other data are contained in a study now published by World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"These alarming figures should act as a warning that, with the Covid-19 pandemic occupying health systems across the world, we can not afford to take our eye off the ball when it comes to other deadly diseases", said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Many of these countries are experiencing ongoing measles outbreaks. This accounts for 9.5 million [95 lakh] or a massive 69% of children who are due to receive the vaccine.

In a study published on Thursday, both organizations say there were almost 870,000 cases and around 207,000 deaths. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.

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