Measles killed 140,000 in 2018, says WHO

The vast majority of measles cases and deaths ocurred in sub Saharan Africa though wealther countries have also been battling their own outbreaksMore

The vast majority of measles cases and deaths ocurred in sub Saharan Africa though wealther countries have also been battling their own outbreaksMore

Most deaths were among children younger than 5, according to WHO.

"[Measles] indicates that there are problems in a community with other vaccine preventable disease coverage", he says.

And so far 2019 has been even worse. Within the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the place not sufficient kids have been immunised due to battle and low-quality well being providers, greater than 4,500 folks have died from measles this yr - greater than the loss of life toll from Ebola.

This week, officials in Samoa advised the public to hang red flags outside their homes to indicate that they have an unvaccinated family member living there.

In the United States, spreading misinformation about the measles has been the domain of a group of prominent anti-vaccine advocates who have permeated communities, such as the Orthodox Jewish community in NY and the Somali community in Minnesota, distributing false information claiming vaccines are risky.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus, director-general of the WHO, said: "The fact that any child dies from a vaccine-preventable disease like measles is frankly an outrage and a collective failure to protect the world's most vulnerable children".

Media caption'Vaccine fears cost me my children'How are the numbers calculated? These five countries accounted for nearly half of all measles cases worldwide.

CDC researchers estimate that 19.2 million infants worldwide did not receive the first dose of measles vaccine in 2018.

So scientists perform complex maths for each country.

Dr Minal Patel, who performed the number-crunching, told the BBC: "We've had a general trajectory downwards for deaths, which is great".

"We have to really move from putting out fires, responding to outbreaks all the time and strengthen the essential immunization programmes so that we're not facing these situations country by country, month in, month out, year in, year out", Dr O'Brien insisted.

In short, not enough children are being vaccinated.

"In those intervening months, we've seen a larger cohort of the population, particularly the children, grow up without getting the vaccines they need".

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In related news, the World Health Organization announced today that 2.2 million children in North Kivu, DRC, the epicenter of an ongoing Ebola outbreak, will be vaccinated against measles in a 5-day campaign.

The biggest problem is access to vaccines, particular in poor countries.

The 5 worst affected countries, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Liberia, Madagascar, Somalia and Ukraine, accounted for half of all cases worldwide.

In addition to rapidly immunizing against measles, outbreak response also includes efforts to reduce the risk of death through timely treatment, especially for related complications like pneumonia.

The other issue is people who do have access to vaccines choosing not to immunise their children.

The total number of laboratory-confirmed measles cases in England in 2018 was 971, more than three times the 259 cases in 2017.

What do the experts say?

She said: "The unacceptable number of children killed past year by a wholly preventable disease is proof that measles anywhere is a threat to children everywhere".

Although this is a major public health achievement - and the reason why measles deaths since the turn of the century decreased from 535,000 to 142,300 a year ago, little progress has been made on improving vaccine coverage "in about a decade", Dr O'Brien explained.

Measles is steadily making a comeback around the world, as new estimations from the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggest outbreaks show no sign of abating.

Professor Heidi Larson, the director of the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said some countries are "scrambling" to vaccinate too late.

"Vaccines are the safest and most effective preventative measures against highly infectious disease, but now too many children are being put at unnecessary risk - with half a million children in the United Kingdom unvaccinated against measles".

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