On Monday, the World Health Organization released an update on measles outbreaks worldwide. A number of countries have been affected by the disease, with the worst cases being in Ukraine, Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is also battling the Ebola epidemic. The WHO also reports that measles cases in the United States have been at their highest level for 25 years.
Measles is a disease that mainly affects children; it manifests with a red rash, as well as symptoms similar to flu, including runny nose, fever and dry cough. The condition can potentially cause very serious results in young children. As this virus spreads in the air, it is highly contagious in populated areas.
Morbidity is also highly preventable by conventional two-dose vaccination. According to the WHO, current measles outbreaks are widely observed in countries and populations with low vaccination rates, including countries such as Thailand, the Philippines, Nigeria, Angola and others.
In addition, the WHO reports that cases in the region of Europe reached nearly 90,000 marks in the first half of this year; this is slightly higher than the approximately 84,000 cases reported in the first six months of 2018 and officially the highest level of the decade.
The World Health Organization has identified a wide variety of causes of these outbreaks, including lack of education in some regions about the need for the vaccine, as well as false beliefs about safety, lack of access to the vaccine, and populations of older youth and adults who have missed the childhood vaccine.