Measles outbreaks continue unabated

New York/New Delhi (NVI): Even as India successfully carried out the vaccination of over 324 million children between 9 months and 15 years the unprecedented global measles crisis set to enter third year. According to WHO report released today 4,13,000 measles cases were reported by mid-November in 2019 as against 3,53,236 reported cases in 2018. Measles cases more than doubled in 2018 compared to 2017.

India initiated one of the world’s largest Measles-Rubella campaign to eliminate Measles and control Rubella in the country. As of November 5, this year more than 324 million children and adolescent have been vaccinated with one dose of MR vaccine in 34 states.

However, reported measles cases continue to rise for the third straight year globally. Five countries — Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Madagascar, Somalia and Ukraine — accounted for nearly half of all measles cases in 2018.

Children continue to be the worst affected. WHO reports that the Samoa children  are the latest victims of 2019 outbreaks.

According to new estimates released today by the WHO and the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) on behalf of the Measles and Rubella Initiative children under the age of five accounted for most of the 1,40,000 people who died from measles in 2018.

“The unacceptable number of children killed last year by a wholly preventable disease is proof that measles anywhere is a threat to children everywhere,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF’s Executive Director.

Fore added that when children go unvaccinated in significant numbers, entire communities are at risk. “We see that even today in remote places like in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where measles have killed more than 4,500 children under the age of five so far this year; or in Samoa, where a rapidly spreading measles outbreak has left many children ill and unable to go to school,” said Fore.

The MR vaccine being used in the campaign is Made in India and is exported for use world over.