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Reported Measles Cases Up 300% Globally In First Quarter Of 2019 Compared With Last Year, WHO Says, Calls For Increased Vaccination Coverage

Al Jazeera: WHO raises alarm over 300 percent rise in measles cases
“The World Health Organization (WHO) has raised alarm over a 300 percent increase in the cases of measles globally in the first quarter of 2019 compared with last year. The statement by the United Nations’ health agency comes as health experts in various parts of the world blame a growing anti-vaccination movement for the rise in outbreaks of the highly contagious but preventable disease…” (4/15).

The Guardian: Measles cases up 300% worldwide in 2019, says WHO
“… ‘Preliminary global data shows that reported cases rose by 300% in the first three months of 2019, compared to the same period in 2018. This follows consecutive increases over the past two years,’ [WHO] said in a statement. ‘While this data is provisional and not yet complete, it indicates a clear trend. Many countries are in the midst of sizable measles outbreaks, with all regions of the world experiencing sustained rises in cases,’ the WHO added…” (Boseley, 4/15).

TIME: Measles Cases Are Still Rising in the U.S. But They’re Even Higher Globally
“…More than 112,000 measles cases in 170 countries have been reported to the WHO so far this year. By contrast, about 28,000 measles cases in 163 countries were reported at this time last year, the WHO says. There are likely many more cases that have gone unreported, the WHO says, but the data provides a good sense of global disease trends…” (Ducharme, 4/15).

U.N. News: ‘A global measles crisis’ is well underway, U.N. agency chiefs warn
“… ‘Cases have soared across the world, including in places where measles had previously been eliminated, like the United States,’ asserted Henrietta Fore, executive director of the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO). … Following two years of consecutive increases, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Myanmar, Philippines, Sudan, Thailand, and Ukraine, are all in the midst of current outbreaks. It is also spreading fast among clusters of people, who are resisting vaccination, in countries with high overall vaccination rates, including the United States, Israel, Thailand, and Tunisia…” (4/15).

Vox: 2019 is shaping up to be a very bad year for measles
“…The reasons for outbreaks differ in each country — from vaccine refusal to problems with health care access or access to vaccines, to civil unrest and low awareness about the need to vaccinate. But what all these causes have in common: These factors are driving down the rate of vaccine coverage…” (Belluz, 4/15).

Additional coverage of WHO’s measles surveillance data is available from Agence France-Presse, BBC News, CNN, Reuters, Science Speaks, USA TODAY, and VOA News.