WHO blames measles rise on misinformation

Measles is a very contagious disease but can be prevented with a vaccination

Measles is a very contagious disease but can be prevented with a vaccination. UN Ukraine Flickr

The Western Pacific Region, which includes countries such as Australia and Japan, was the only region to report a decrease in cases from 2016 to 2017.

There has been a worldwide resurgence of measles, with many countries experiencing "severe and protracted" outbreaks a year ago, a report warns.

Vaccines have prevented 21 million deaths from measles since 2000, World Health Organization said.

Health authorities said vaccinations prevented roughly 21 million deaths between 2000 and 2017.

The Pan-American Health Organization is the regional arm of the World Health Organization, which on Thursday signalled a more than 30 percent spike in measles cases worldwide past year as compared with 2016.

The five-week long initiative that aims to vaccine 13.16 lakh children in the age group of 9-15 years in Meerut district got a kickstart against the deadly diseases-Measles and Rubella. "Without urgent efforts to increase vaccination coverage and identify populations with unacceptable levels of under-, or unimmunized children, we risk losing decades of progress in protecting children and communities against this devastating, but entirely preventable disease".

According to the report, global coverage for the first of two measles doses has stalled at 85%, which the authors say is far short of the 95% level needed to prevent outbreaks.

"Since 2016, measles incidence has increased globally and in five of the six World Health Organization regions", the report says, although this was in part because more countries reported on the virus.

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Now global measles coverage stands at just 85 per cent, which represents real progress on previous decades.

"The increase in measles cases is deeply concerning, but not surprising", said Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

Experts say complacency, collapsing health systems and a rise in fake news about the vaccine are behind the rise.

Multiple countries experienced "severe and protracted outbreaks" of measles, with North and South America, Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean seeing the biggest increase in cases.

Responding to the recent outbreaks, health agencies are calling for sustained investment in immunization systems, alongside efforts to strengthen routine vaccination services.

And there are now concerns that as more people move between countries in the region, the disease could continue to spread.

The agencies also call for actions to build broad-based public support for immunizations, while tackling misinformation and hesitancy around vaccines where these exist. Find the complete Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) Vaccines market analysis segmented by companies, region, type and applications in the report.

Measles elimination is defined as the absence of endemic measles virus transmission in a region or other defined geographical area for more than 12 months.

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