Global measles cases up by 300 percent in 2019

16 Avril, 2019, 04:06 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • A doctor preparing to give a shot

"Many countries are in the midst of sizeable measles outbreaks, with all regions of the world experiencing sustained rises in cases", the WHO added. Of those, 229 were reported this year, accounting for more than one-third of the 555 cases that have been reported nationwide in 2019, as of April 11, according to figures updated Monday by the CDC. The total so far is the second-greatest number of cases reported since 2000.

Currently, the 2019 tally is the highest since an outbreak in 2014 that saw 667 cases.

How measles outbreaks spread in the U.S.

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But rich countries with seemingly high vaccination rates are seeing cases spike too.

Last week, New York City officials declared a public health emergency and ordered mandatory measles vaccinations to halt the outbreak concentrated among ultra-Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn, putting in place the broadest vaccination order in the United States in almost three decades. Six of the additional 44 cases are newly diagnosed, while the other 38 are recently discovered, the NY health department said. A state judge later blocked the order.

While easily preventable with a vaccine, measles is highly contagious and can be unsafe, especially for small children.

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.

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The mistaken belief can be traced back to 1998, when a doctor in the United Kingdom published a now discredited study claiming the MMR vaccine was linked to autism.

Claims about health risks from vaccines are "based purely on fabrication", he continued.

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.

In January, WHO named the anti-vaccination movement among the top 10 global health threats for 2019.

Measles can cause serious long-term harm, to individuals and to the economy.

According to the CDC, as many as one out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia, the most common cause of death from measles in young kids.

Almost a quarter of measles patients are hospitalised with complications that can lead to disabilities, brain damage, blindness and hearing loss.

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