Measles cases up 300% worldwide in 2019, says WHO

Modesto Morganelli
Aprile 16, 2019

Several measles outbreaks in NY state are contributing to this year's unusually high measles rates.

Measles is surging. Last week the USA recorded 90 cases, making this year's outbreak the second largest in more than two decades.

So far this year, 170 countries have reported 112,163 measles cases to WHO. That's 50 percent higher than the total number recorded previous year, even though we're only about a quarter of the way through 2019. The CDC report did not say whether there have been any fatalities.

"Preliminary global data shows that reported cases rose by 300 percent in the first three months of 2019, compared to the same period in 2018".

States that have reported cases to CDC include NY, where there have been outbreaks in Brooklyn and Rockland County, New Jersey, Connecticut and MA.

"I'm obviously very concerned about the size and also acceleration of the current outbreak", said Dr. Nancy Messonier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

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The CDC pointed to four other places with ongoing outbreaks in the U.S.: Clark County, Washington; Oakland County, Michigan; two counties in New Jersey; and a handful of counties across California.

Health officials say there are two main reasons for the virus's surge: more worldwide travel and lower vaccination rates.

"Over recent months, spikes in case numbers have also occurred in countries with high overall vaccination coverage, including the United States of America as well as Israel, Thailand, and Tunisia, as the disease has spread fast among clusters of unvaccinated people", the World Health Organization statement said.

Ukraine had the highest number of cases in the past 12 months, with more than 72,000 cases, followed by Madagascar and India with more than 69,000 and 60,000 cases respectively. And the European Union is tallying about a thousand cases a month.

Measles cases rose 300% worldwide through the first three months of 2019 compared to the same period past year, the World Health Organisation has said.

More American families are bringing measles home with them after traveling overseas, Cohn says.

In January, WHO named the anti-vaccination movement among the top 10 global health threats for 2019.

NY health officials said the Brooklyn outbreak was caused by an unvaccinated child returning from a trip to Israel, which is also grappling with an outbreak. This can lead to convulsions and leave a child deaf or with an intellectual disability.

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