WHO Concerned with Measles Epidemics Around the World

Due to major gaps in vaccination coverage, World Health Organization (WHO) experts are very concerned with measles epidemics increasing around the world. The data was revealed at a two-day meeting of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Friday. The latest WHO global health data shows that measles cases rose by 300 percent in the first three months of 2019 compared to the same three months in 2018. In general, measles cases have increased substantially in the past two years.

WHO measles surveillance data demonstrating the increase in measles cases around the world (Source: WHO).

While there is no treatment for the measles virus, it can be prevented by vaccination—specifically two doses. Most cases occur in people who are not vaccinated or under-vaccinated. Measles are causing sickness and death in countries around the world, including Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, the Philippines, Sudan, Thailand, and Ukraine.

In order to address this public health crisis, WHO experts recommend strategies to increase vaccination rates. Currently, there is about 86% coverage for the first vaccination and less than 70% for the second dose, which contributes greatly to the problem. Immunization strategies needs to ensure that all children are fully vaccinated. Read more from Reuters here.