Measles cases triple globally in 2019, says UN

A woman receives a measles mumps and rubella vaccine at the Rockland County Health Department in Pomona N.Y. Wednesday

Measles cases triple globally in 2019, says UN

Countries with high numbers of infections in the past six months include Madagascar with 70,000 cases, Ukraine with 49,000, the Philippines with 8800 and Venezuela with 5700.

The number of confirmed measles cases in New York City has increased to 329 since October, and according to the city's health department, the outbreak is expected to worsen over the next 3 to 5 weeks. We should not have active measles in the United States. The World Health Organization reported on Monday that global cases had risen almost four-fold in the first quarter of 2019 to 112,163 compared with the same period past year.

The data is provisional, and the actual number of measles cases is likely higher, as World Health Organization estimates that less than 1 in 10 cases globally are reported to the agency. But when an global traveler exposed to measles overseas brings the disease into the country, pockets of unvaccinated communities within the US enable the disease to spread.

Since the beginning of 2019, 555 cases of measles have been confirmed in the United States, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2000, measles was largely eradicated, having not been continually transmitted for a period of more than 12 months thanks to a highly effective vaccination program in the United States.

According to the CDC, as many as one out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia, the most common cause of death from measles in young kids.

Global coverage for the second dose is only 67 per cent.

Experts point to one reason for this year's large outbreak: the power of the anti-vaccination movement. "This should not happen", said Dr. William Schaffner, medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and an adviser to the CDC on vaccines.

The 20 states reporting measles this year are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington.

New York's mayor declared a public health emergency in parts of Brooklyn last week, after a measles outbreak emerged in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, where some had resisted vaccination on religious grounds.

In response to recent measles outbreaks, calls have mounted in several countries to make immunisation mandatory.

Health officials in Rockland County, New York, tried to bar unvaccinated children from public places, but a judge prohibited the county from enforcing that rule.

When pressed as to how many fines were issued, Barbot said she did not know at the time.

NY health officials said they were working with orthodox Jewish leaders to combat anti-vaccination campaigns.

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