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Media Outlets Examine Measles Outbreaks Across World, Role Of Vaccine Hesitancy

Al Jazeera: Philippines: Vaccine scare blamed for deadly measles outbreak
“Health officials in the Philippines are racing to contain a deadly measles outbreak the government blames on a marked decline in immunisations after a scandal surrounding a dengue fever vaccine…” (Gotinga, 2/12).

Bloomberg: Widening Anti-Vaccine Movement Paves the Way for a Measles Comeback
“A growing band of immunization detractors is driving a surge in measles cases from the Philippines to Washington State that threatens to derail efforts to wipe out the disease. Worldwide cases of the viral illness increased by about 50 percent to 2.3 million last year, according to data from the World Health Organization, which included ‘vaccine hesitancy’ in its list of top ten threats to global health this year. The contagion has cropped up in Israel, Greece, Madagascar, the Ukraine, and Venezuela, among others…” (Altstedter/Griffin, 2/12).

Science: Measles cases have tripled in Europe, fueled by Ukrainian outbreak
“Measles cases more than tripled across Europe in 2018, and one country drove much of the surge: Ukraine. Nearly 83,000 cases of measles were reported in the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) European Region in 2018, compared with some 25,500 in 2017, WHO, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, announced last week. Ukraine had more than 54,000 cases in 2018, its government says. … Ukraine’s government is taking action. ‘It’s egregious to have people have measles in the 21st century in a European country,’ says Ulana Suprun, a physician who has been Ukraine’s acting minister of health since August 2016. She blames a decade of corruption, war, a lack of political commitment to vaccination, and antivaccine sentiment…” (Wadman, 2/12).

Washington Post: As Americans reject vaccines, health workers abroad risk death to deliver them
“In early October, three cases of measles were confirmed in Antanarivo, the capital of Madagascar. The highly contagious virus quickly spread across the island nation; by the next month, thousands of cases had been confirmed. The crisis only grew from there. Madagascar has poor health-care infrastructure and a low vaccination rate. But public health experts say its dangerous measles outbreak still offers a warning for anti-vaccination campaigners in the United States, where a smaller-scale flare-up has led to more than 100 confirmed cases since the beginning of the year. Conspiracy theories that vaccines are ineffective or can cause certain disabilities and medical conditions have led a number of American parents to resist vaccinating their children…” (O’Grady, 2/13).

The Guardian: Facebook under pressure to halt rise of anti-vaccination groups
“Facebook is under pressure to stem the rise of anti-vaccination groups spreading false information about the dangers of life-saving vaccines while peddling unfounded alternative treatments such as high doses of vitamin C. So-called ‘anti-vaxxers’ are operating on Facebook in closed groups, where members have to be approved in advance. By barring access to others, they are able to serve undiluted misinformation without challenge…” (Pilkington/Glenza, 2/12).