Measles cases tripled year-on-year: WHO

Vastavam web: Measles cases nearly tripled globally during the first seven months of the year compared to the same period in 2018, the World Health Organization said Tuesday, amid growing concern over public resistance to the vaccine. So far this year, 364,808 measles cases were reported around the world, compared to 129,239 cases during the first seven months a year earlier.

These numbers are “the highest (registered) since 2006,” WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told reporters in Geneva. The numbers are especially worrying since only about one in 10 actual measles cases are believed to be reported worldwide, according to WHO.

Measles, which is highly contagious, can be entirely prevented through a two-dose vaccine, but the World Health Organization (WHO) has in recent months sounded the alarm over slipping vaccination rates.

Measles cases have soared worldwide, with the African region seeing a 900-percent jump in cases year-on-year, while cases rose 230 percent in the western Pacific. Angola, Cameroon, Chad, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, the Philippines, Sudan, South Sudan and Thailand have all seen major outbreaks of the disease.

The United States has meanwhile registered 1,164 cases so far this year, compared to 372 for all of 2018 and the highest number on record in a quarter century. And in the European region, nearly 90,000 cases have been registered this year — well above the 84,462 cases registered last year.

Measles — an airborne infection causing fever, coughing and rashes that can be deadly in rare cases — had been officially eliminated in many countries with advanced healthcare systems. But the so-called anti-vax movement — driven by fraudulent claims linking the MMR vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella, and a risk of autism in children — has gained traction.