Organisation warns of possible measles outbreak

Health Watch

AN increase in measles cases in January and February is a worrying sign of a heightened risk for the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases and could trigger larger outbreaks, particularly of measles, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) warn.
The WHO and Unicef in a joint statement said pandemic-related disruptions, increasing inequalities in access to vaccines, and the diversion of resources from routine immunisation we leaving too many children without protection against measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases.
The risk for large outbreaks has increased as communities relax social distancing practices and other preventive measures for the Coronavirus (Covid-19) implemented during the height of the pandemic.
In addition, with millions of people being displaced due to conflicts and crises, including in Ukraine, Ethiopia, Somalia and Afghanistan, disruptions in routine immunisation and the Covid-19 vaccination services, lack of clean water and sanitation, and overcrowding increase the risk of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks.
The World Health Organisation and Unicef said almost 17,338 measles cases were reported worldwide in January and February, compared to 9,665 during the first two months last year.
It said as measles was contagious, cases tend to show up quickly when vaccination levels declined.
The agencies are concerned that outbreaks of measles could also forewarn outbreaks of other diseases that do not spread as rapidly.
“Measles is more than a dangerous and potentially deadly disease,” Unicef executive director Catherine Russell said.
“It is also an early indication that there are gaps in our global immunisation coverage, gaps vulnerable children cannot afford.”

Leave a Reply