Millions of people around the world are at risk of contracting measles, The warning comes from the headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland, where a preliminary report was presented showing that the cases reported tripled in the first seven months of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018. This is the highest figure since 2006.,
Between 1 January and 31 July, 182 countries reported 364,808 cases of measles, while in 2018 there were 129,239 (in 181 countries). "Outbreaks of strained health systems and cause heavy personnel, injuries and deaths in many parts of the world, "the WHO said when disseminating the data.
The advance "anxious and continuous" It is unevenly expressed in different parts of the globe. In Africa, notifications are increasing 10 times a year. In the Western Pacific (which includes Japan, Austria and Southeast Asian countries, among others), the rise is 230% and in Europe – 120%. In contrast, there is a 15% decrease in the Americas region.
However, WHO said that this is only the tip of the iceberg, since Worldwide, fewer than 1 in 10 cases are reported, so the real number is much higher.
"The largest outbreaks occur in countries with low measles vaccination, currently or in the past, that have remained a large number of vulnerable people to the disease At the same time, long-term outbreaks occur even in countries with a high national vaccination rate. This is due to inequalities in vaccine coverage, as well as gaps and differences between communities, geographic areas and between age groups – the report explains. When enough non-immunized people are exposed to measles, it can spread very quickly. "
For example, the United States has been living in the worst epidemic of the last 25 yearsIn Europe, about 90,000 cases were registered in the first six months of the year, which exceeds the total number registered in 2018 (84,462), which is the highest number in a decade. So far in 2019, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar and Ukraine are leading in the number of notifications.
The measles can be prevented with two doses of triple virus, a safe and highly effective vaccine that also protects against rubella and mumps. Coverage of over 95% is required to prevent its spread as the virus is highly contagious. According to WHO and UNICEF published last month, 86% of children received the first dose and 69% received the second, which means that last year about 20 million have not been vaccinatedIn addition, 23 countries have not yet included the second dose in their national calendars.
Argentina eliminated the endemic spread of measles almost 20 years ago (in 2000). Since then, just over 40 cases have been registered or imported. The major outbreaks occurred in 2010 (17 cases) after the World Cup in South Africa; and last year (14 cases grouped into 3 outbreaks).
Five have been confirmed so far this year: four imported and one related to imports, so specialists recommend that the Ministry of Health's Immunization Disease Control Directorate recommend that those traveling abroad check that there is a complete vaccination scheme for old age. If the two recommended double or triple viral doses given after one year of life are not available, the vaccine should be administered at least 15 days before travel. In the meantime, children from 6 to 11 months of age traveling to areas with active viral circulation should receive a dose of triple virus, which should not be considered as the first established by the national calendar (given during the year of life). People born before 1965 should not be vaccinated.