Friday, 19 April, 2024
HomeInfectious DiseasesMore than half the world faces high measles risk – WHO

More than half the world faces high measles risk – WHO

The World Health Organisation warned this week that more than half of the world’s countries will be at high or very high risk of measles outbreaks by the end of 2024, unless urgent preventative measures are taken.

Cases have been increasing across most regions mainly due to missed vaccinations during the Covid-19 years, when health systems were overwhelmed, reports Reuters.

“What we are worried about is these big gaps in our immunisation programmes and if we don’t fill them really quickly with the vaccine, measles will just jump into that gap,” the WHO’s Natasha Crowcroft, a senior technical adviser on measles and Rubella, told a Geneva press briefing.

“We can see, from WHO and CDC (US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) data, that more than half of all countries in the world will be at high or very high risk of outbreaks by the end of this year.”

She called for urgent action to protect children, saying there was a “lack of commitment” by governments, given competing issues like economic crises and conflict.

Measles can be prevented by two doses of vaccine, and more than 50m deaths have been averted since 2000, according to the WHO.

Cases last year were already up 79% to more than 300 000, but are thought to represent just a fraction of the total.

Outbreaks have been reported in all WHO regions, with the exception of the Americas. Death rates are also higher in poorer countries due to weaker health systems, Crowcroft said, adding that outbreaks and deaths were also a risk for middle and high income countries.

“We’ve had many measles outbreaks worldwide and middle income countries really suffered. And we’re worried that 2024 is going to look like 2019,” she said.

 

Reuters article – More than half the world faces high measles risk, WHO says (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

Measles warning in Europe as cases surge 30-fold

 

Measles cases and deaths still rising worldwide

 

Global measles cases and deaths rising, warns WHO

 

SA’s worst measles outbreak in 10 years – 600 cases and counting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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