Number of measles cases rocket amid warnings of poor vaccination rates

Modesto Morganelli
Aprile 16, 2019

The agency noted that only about one in 10 actual measles cases were reported, meaning the early trends for 2019 were likely to underestimate the severity of the outbreaks.

About one out of every 1,000 children with measles will develop swelling of the brain, which can lead to convulsions and leave the child deaf or with an intellectual disability. "Many countries are in the midst of sizeable measles outbreaks, with all regions of the world experiencing sustained rises in cases", WHO further said.

Outbreaks have also hit Brazil, Pakistan and Yemen, "causing many deaths - mostly among young children".

"Spikes in case numbers have also occurred in countries with high overall vaccination coverage, including the United States", WHO said. Global coverage with the first dose has "stalled" at 85%, against 95% needed to prevent outbreaks, while 25 countries still do not include a second dose in their national programmes, it said. "That's been proven. There is no association whatsoever between the measles vaccine and autism". It has not mutated to become more infectious or more unsafe, instead the answers are entirely human. In poorer countries fewer people are vaccinated and a larger portion of the population is left vulnerable to the virus.

Millions of children have been immunised in Madagascar and the Philippines to curb the outbreaks.

A sign warning people of measles in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community of Williamsburg, two days after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a public health emergency in parts of Brooklyn in response to a measles outbreak, is seen in New York, U.S., April 11, 2019. So far in 2019, there have been 555 measles cases across 20 states.

It is worth noting these figures are provisional, the World Health Organization says the true figures will be much higher.

The pair wrote that it was "understandable, in such a climate, how loving parents can feel lost" but that "ultimately, there is no "debate" to be had about the profound benefits of vaccines".

Messonier says the NY outbreak has been particularly hard to control.

Public health officials say current measles outbreaks in the USA are fueled by the anti-vaccination movement, which questions the safety of vaccines and frequently spreads false information on social media.

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