Health & Wellbeing

"Global measles crisis" as WHO reports cases up 300% from last year

"Global measles crisis" as WHO...
Measles cases around the globe are soaring to levels not seen in decades
Measles cases around the globe are soaring to levels not seen in decades
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Measles cases around the globe are soaring to levels not seen in decades
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Measles cases around the globe are soaring to levels not seen in decades

Preliminary measles surveillance data released by the World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed a stark surge in reported global cases over the first three months of 2019. The WHO data indicates measles cases are 300 percent higher than at the same time in 2018, with major outbreaks currently occurring in a dozen different countries.

The WHO report notes its data is still incomplete and provisional, estimating only around one in 10 measles cases are officially reported, suggesting the real numbers are most likely considerably higher. With data gathered from 170 countries, the report says there have been 112,163 cases of measles reported so far in 2019. At this same time last year the WHO had noted 28,124 measles cases from 163 countries.

The biggest increases are being reported in African regions with cases on the continent up 700 percent from 2018. Official measles outbreaks are currently underway in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Madagascar, and Sudan. More localized spikes are also ongoing in countries with traditionally higher vaccination coverage, such as the United States and Israel.

In an editorial published by CNN, Henrietta H Fore, executive director of UNICEF, and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, are frank in their description of this event as a "global measles crisis." As well as pointing to countries where weak health care and poverty underpin the rise in measles cases, Fore and Ghebreyesus squarely direct blame in high and middle income countries at the growing wave of vaccine hesitancy and spread of misinformation.

Earlier this month, New York health commissioner Oxiris Barbot declared a public health emergency following the largest measles outbreak in the city in almost 30 years. Across the entire United States measles is presenting as a looming health emergency with 555 cases already reported this year alone. In comparison, only 372 cases were reported across the whole of 2018. If this rate continues for the rest of the year 2019 will present the highest volume of measles cases seen in the country in decades.

Fore and Ghebreyesus suggest a multi-pronged offensive is the only way to push back against the reemergence of this stubborn killer virus. While the WHO is working to respond to current outbreaks and distribute vaccines in those areas where the virus may be accelerating its spread, the battle is only just beginning for health workers around the globe, and for those fighting the growth of vaccine misinformation.

"It requires each of us to stand up for science, for health and for the importance of vaccines," Fore and Ghebreyesus write. "It means building basic scientific literacy – ensuring people can interpret and understand information about their health and vaccines."

Source: WHO

5 comments
Wolf0579
I can point directly to the cause of this problem, lack of science education for Journalists. Lack of science education for the general population. Until people understand science, they will be prey to those voices among us that wish to sow discord and chaos in western democracies.
flyerfly
I wonder what percentage of the measles update is a result of migration between areas of poor general health & cleanliness practices vs. just vaccinations. Also I wonder how effective the vaccine really is? I had several measles vaccines as an international traveler in the 80's...but I got measles anyway. Vaccines are not 100% and are a sticky subject for many...it gets even worse where there are some that try to force the issue and take away free choice.
apprenticeearthwiz
"It requires each of us to stand up for science, for health and for the importance of vaccines," Fore and Ghebreyesus write. "It means building basic scientific literacy – ensuring people can interpret and understand information about their health and vaccines." I wonder how many believers in the vaccination schedule have actually read any of the evidence against that schedule, or have just accepted the word of the proponents for it. If they actually researched that information they would find many well-credentialed people, many supporting the value of vaccination, and they have serious problems with the constantly growing, massively remunerative vaccination schedule. The sums involved are mind-boggling. We have a tool to determine questions in our civilisation where we examine ALL the available evidence before coming to any conclusion. We call it science. Yes Fore and Ghebreyesus, by all means let's do some science. You blame this on the growing wave of vaccine hesitancy and spread of misinformation but, seriously, how good is a vaccine that is not immunising people against the disease?
Brian M
Any correlation with the growth/use of social media?
EZ
As I see it, people are losing faith in their governing bodies. In the US, it's the CDC and trickle down institutions like local health departments. Public questions don't get answered. The health institutions just rely on brute force by enacting laws rather than educating the public. As an example, I watched a lecture by one MD saying that the flu shots we get barraged with annually is actually only about 14% effective for "one" strain of the flu, when there are a few of them that spread every year. I, personally quit getting flue shots a few years ago due to two reasons: 1) I would get the flu and 2) I found a natural way to prevent and even kill it if it did get to me. The only time in the last, about 7 years, I got something that felt like the flu was last year when I quit taking the natural remedy. That convince me even more that I was on to something. I now don't avoid taking it during the "flu season." I am not going to divulge the the stuff I drink because I don't want to sound like a commercial. It can be found on google or youtube.