Measles is an “imminent threat” worldwide, according to a WHO report

Measles is an “imminent threat” worldwide, according to a WHO report

2022/11/24 at 12:00 am
2022/11/24 at 12:00 am

To prevent measles from spreading and achieve herd immunity, CDC and WHO say at least 95% of children need to be vaccinated

Measles is an “imminent threat” worldwide, according to a new joint report released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

Despite the fact that a two-dose vaccine with greater than 97% efficacy in preventing infection has been available for decades, the gains made in fighting the potentially dangerous childhood disease have been lost during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The report found that in 2021, nearly 40 million children, a record, did not receive a dose of the measles vaccine. Specifically, 25 million missed their first dose and 14.7 million missed their second dose.

“The paradox of the pandemic is that while Covid-19 vaccines were developed in record time and deployed in the largest vaccination campaign in history, routine immunization programs were severely disrupted and millions of children missed out on life-saving vaccines against deadly diseases like measles,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, in a statement.

“Getting immunization programs up and running is absolutely critical. Behind every statistic in this report is a child at risk of a preventable disease,” the statement continued.

To prevent the disease from spreading and achieve herd immunity, the CDC and WHO say that at least 95% of children need to be vaccinated.

However, only 81% of children globally have received the first dose and 71% have received the second dose, the lowest coverage seen globally since 2008.

Consequently, there were 9 million measles cases and 128,000 deaths worldwide with at least 22 countries experiencing “large and disturbing outbreaks”.

“The record number of children who are undervaccinated and susceptible to measles shows the profound damage that immunization systems have suffered during the Covid-19 pandemic,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.

“Measles outbreaks illustrate the weaknesses of immunization programs, but public health officials can use outbreak response to identify communities at risk, understand the causes of under-vaccination, and help provide locally tailored solutions to ensure that vaccines are available to all.”

No region of the world has achieved and sustained measles elimination, the report found. Since 2016, at least 10 countries that had previously eliminated measles have reported outbreaks, including the United States.

Measles is an incredibly contagious disease. According to the CDC, an infected patient can infect at least 10 close contacts who are not protected by either masks or vaccinations.

Complications of measles can range from mild, including skin rashes, to severe, such as viral sepsis, pneumonia, or brain swelling.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.