Global measles cases three times higher than last year - WHO

  • Sunday 01, September 2019 07:59 AM
  • Global measles cases three times higher than last year - WHO
Sharjah 24 – Reuters: 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 Organisation (WHO) said.
The biggest outbreaks of the highly contagious disease -- one person with measles can spread it up to 18 non-immunised 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.

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.