Title: Measles Cases and Deaths Surge Globally as Vaccination Rates Decline: New WHO and CDC Report
In a concerning development, a recent joint report from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revealed a significant increase in measles cases, deaths, and outbreaks between 2021 and 2022. This surge has raised alarm bells worldwide, urging authorities to take immediate action to combat this resurging threat to public health.
According to the report, the estimated number of measles cases jumped by a staggering 18% from 7.8 million to 9.2 million, marking a concerning trend. Equally disturbing is the fact that measles deaths saw a dramatic increase of 43%, surging from 95,000 to 136,200 worldwide. These shocking figures highlight the urgent need for effective measles prevention strategies.
The report also documented a 68% surge in the number of countries reporting “large or disruptive outbreaks” of measles. This increase in outbreaks has been attributed, in large part, to declining vaccination rates in recent years. While some countries have witnessed improvements, many low-income nations continue to experience a decline in vaccination rates, exacerbating the measles crisis.
Highlighting the global trend, the report underscored that coverage with the first dose of the MMR vaccine rose from 72% to 86% worldwide between 2000 and 2019. However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic reversed this progress, with coverage falling to 83% in 2020 and 81% in 2021. While global coverage slightly rebounded in 2022 to 83%, low-income countries saw a decline from 67% to 66%.
Most concerning is the fact that more than half of the 22 million children who missed their first MMR vaccine dose in 2022 reside in ten countries: Angola, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Nigeria, Pakistan, and the Philippines. The concentration of unvaccinated children in these countries underscores the need for targeted efforts and resources to combat the measles crisis.
Experts emphasize that achieving robust protection against measles requires both the first and second doses of the MMR vaccine, with coverage rates of at least 95%. To prevent further outbreaks and protect vulnerable communities, it is imperative to prioritize and enhance global vaccination efforts.
In conclusion, the alarming rise in measles cases, deaths, and outbreaks is a clear indication that declining vaccination rates have grave consequences for public health. Urgent action and investment in improved vaccination infrastructure are needed to protect the vulnerable and prevent the further spread of measles. The global community must work together to address this growing issue and ensure that future generations are safeguarded against this preventable disease.
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