Geneva – Measles cases have almost tripled globally in the first seven months of the year compared to the same period in 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday amid growing concern over public resistance to the vaccine.
So far, 364 808 cases of measles have been reported worldwide in 2019, compared to 129 239 cases in the first seven months of the year earlier.
These numbers are "the highest [registered] since 2006, "said WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier.
The figures are particularly worrying, as only one in 10 real cases of measles worldwide is reported by the WHO.
Severely infected infections can be completely prevented by a two-dose vaccine, but in recent months the WHO has sounded the alarm over slippery vaccinations.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Madagascar and Ukraine have registered the highest number of cases, the WHO reported.
In Madagascar, which registered about 127,500 cases in the first half of this year alone, their numbers have dropped significantly in recent months following an urgent national vaccination campaign, the UN health agency said.
Measles cases have increased globally, with the African region recording a 900% jump in cases year on year, with cases increasing by 230% in the western Pacific.
Angola, Cameroon, Chad, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, the Philippines, Sudan, South Sudan and Thailand have observed large outbreaks of the disease.
Meanwhile, the United States has registered 1,164 cases so far in 2019, up from 372 for the whole of 2018 and the highest number registered in 25 years.
And in the European region in 2019, nearly 90,000 cases were registered – well over 84,462 cases registered in 2018.
Measles – an airborne infection that causes fever, cough and rashes that can rarely be deadly – has been officially eliminated in many countries with modern health systems.
But the so-called anti-wax movement – fueled by fraudulent claims linking the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and the risk of autism in children – has gained traction.
The WHO noted that reasons for people not being vaccinated vary widely across communities and countries, with a lack of access to quality healthcare or vaccination services preventing some from receiving injections and others being misled by "vaccine misinformation or low awareness of vaccines." the need for vaccination. "
The measles vaccine is a "safe and highly effective vaccine," the WHO said in a statement, calling for "everyone to ensure that their measles vaccination is up to date."