Home European News WHO sounds alarm over massive 79% rise in global measles cases

WHO sounds alarm over massive 79% rise in global measles cases

WHO sounds alarm over massive 79% rise in global measles cases

BAKU, Azerbaijan, February 22. The World Health
Organization (WHO) expressed serious concerns after reporting over
306,000 measles cases worldwide last year, representing a 79%
increase from the previous year, Trend reports.

“We in the measles world are extremely concerned,” said Natasha
Crowcroft, a WHO technical adviser on measles and rubella.

She stressed though that measles cases are typically
dramatically under-reported and that the real number was surely far

To get more accurate figures, the U.N. health agency models the
numbers each year, with its latest estimate indicating that there
were 9.2 million cases and 136,216 measles deaths in 2022.

Such modeling has not yet been done for last year, but Crowcroft
pointed out that 2022 had already seen a 43% jump in deaths from
the year before.

Given the ballooning case numbers, “we would anticipate an
increase in deaths in 2023 as well,” she told journalists in
Geneva, via video-link from Cairo.

“This year is going to be very challenging.”

She warned that more than half of all countries globally are
currently believed to be at high risk of measles outbreaks by the
end of the year.

And some 142 million children are estimated to be susceptible to
falling ill.

Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that
attacks mainly children. The most serious complications include
blindness, brain swelling, diarrhea and severe respiratory

A major cause of the swelling numbers is the “backsliding
immunization coverage,” Crowcroft said.

At least 95% of children must be fully vaccinated against the
disease in a locality to prevent outbreaks, but global vaccination
rates have slipped to 83%.

There is a great deal of inequity in the distribution of cases,
and even more so when it comes to deaths.

Crowcroft pointed out that 92% of all children who die from
measles live among less than a quarter of the global population,
mainly in very low-income countries.


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