Medicine

Global measles cases 'up 300% year-on-year'

Global measles cases 'up 300% year-on-year'

If the outbreaks - which prompted the Big Apple to order mandatory vaccinations last week - aren't brought under control, health experts fear the number of cases in 2019 could set a 20-year record since measles were supposedly eliminated from the US.

Measles was declared eliminated in the U.S.in 2000 thanks to the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine.

The 2019 tally is already the most since 2014, when 667 were reported.

New York City is grappling with a measles outbreak.

- US measles cases have surged again, and are on pace to set a record for most illnesses in 25 years.

Measles cases worldwide rose by 300% during the first three months of 2019 compared with the same period past year, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said, amid growing concerns over the impact of anti-vaccination campaigns.

According to the CDC, all of these outbreaks are linked to travelers who brought measles back from other countries such as Israel, Ukraine, and the Philippines, where large measles outbreaks are occurring. So far in 2019, there have been 555 measles cases across 20 states.

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Although the disease could be prevented if 95 per cent of the population were immunised, the World Health Organization reported that global coverage for the first dose of the two-step vaccination has stalled at 85 per cent for several years. But when an global traveler exposed to measles overseas brings the disease into the country, pockets of unvaccinated communities within the US enable the disease to spread.

In an opinion piece for CNN, WHO heads Henrietta Fore and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the world was "in the middle of a measles crisis" and that "the proliferation of confusing and contradictory information" about vaccines was partly to blame.

The CDC recommends that all children get two doses of measles vaccine.

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can sometimes lead to serious health complications, including infections of the lungs and brain.

Health officials there announced last week that in the neighborhoods affected by the outbreak, anyone who has not had been vaccinated against measles or cannot show evidence of immunity could face a $1,000 fine.

Measles can also cause pregnant women to give birth prematurely or have a low-birth-weight baby.


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