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article imageMeasles outbreaks worldwide increased 300 percent in 2019

By Karen Graham     Nov 25, 2019 in Health
Measles outbreaks worldwide showed a substantial jump in the number of cases, increasing 300 percent over the previous year. In the first three months of the year, over 110,000 cases were reported globally.
In some countries, this year's outbreak has been fueled by a lack of access to the measles vaccine, while in other countries, anti-vaxers spread unfounded fears over the use of vaccines to protect children.
In the United States, measles cases reached a 25-year high by the middle of the year, beginning with a large number of cases in the Pacific Northwest followed by another in New York and California.
Other countries, including Canada, Israel, Ukraine, Madagascar, India, and the Philippines, DR Congo and Samoa have also experienced outbreaks. Sadly, a concerted effort by Russian trolls to spread disinformation may be responsible for the swift rise in measles cases this year.
According to Newsweek, most of the new measles cases were in Eastern European and Central Asian countries frequently targeted by Russian disinformation, including Ukraine, Georgia, Serbia, Romania, Moldova, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
Immunologists say a mass rollout of vaccinations could help limit the number of measles cases
Immunologists say a mass rollout of vaccinations could help limit the number of measles cases
The latest measles news from Samoa
In a statement, the Samoan government confirmed three more deaths on Monday, bringing the death toll in the island nation's measles outbreak to 25 since mid-October.
The Ministry of Health also confirmed that to date, a total of 2,194 measles cases have been recorded to the Disease Surveillance Team, with 144 cases reported in the last 24 hours.
The South-Pacific nation is now under a state of emergency, with schools closed, and public gatherings restricted. A mass vaccination project is underway.
Before the mass-vaccination campaign, a total of 32,743 vaccinations had been given. Since the activation of the Mass Vaccination Campaign on Nov. 20, the ministry has successfully vaccinated 17,088 individuals.
WHO data shows measles kills about 134 000 children a year
WHO data shows measles kills about 134,000 children a year
Democratic Republic of Congo measles outbreak
The statistics for DR Congo are frightening, to say the least. Over a quarter-million people have been infected in 2019. Of that total, 5,000 individuals have died as of this week.
In September, the Congolese government and the WHO launched an emergency vaccination program that aimed to inoculate more than 800,000 children. But like with the Ebola outbreak, poor infrastructure, attacks on health centers and a lack of access to routine healthcare, in general, have created roadblocks.
Added to the already numerous problems, there is not enough vaccines available. Only four million children have been vaccinated, and the majority of individuals infected with measles have been children, according to the BBC.
More about Measles, resurgence, DR Congo, Samoa, Vaccine
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