The measles disease is potentially fatal and has made a comeback in recent years, especially due to unfounded rumors about the vaccine. World Health Organization (WHO) and U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) warn of increasing number of cases and deaths, and that the Covid-19 pandemic could slow prevention.
Measles deaths increased by 50% in 3 years
The number of measles cases has so far declined in 2020, but in 2019, the disease killed 207,500 people worldwide, 50% more than in 2016. Last year, around 870,000 cases of measles were recorded, the highest figure recorded since 2016. It must be said that there has been a resurgence of cases all over the world, and some countries such as Brazil, Madagascar, the Samoa Islands, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Ukraine has experienced significant epidemics. “These data clearly show that we are failing to protect children from measles in all parts of the world”, stressed WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a communicated. However, “we know how to prevent measles outbreaks and deaths”.
Covid-19 may slow down measles prevention
Measles is extremely contagious, but the vaccine helps protect the population. Faced with Covid-19, barrier gestures have been widely adopted and they can also prevent measles contagion, but this does not completely remove the risks, especially since the pandemic slows down prevention. “In November, more than 94 million people are at risk of not being vaccinated as planned due to the halt in measles campaigns in 26 countries”, explain the WHO and the CDC. “Many of these countries are currently experiencing disease outbreaks. Among the countries that postponed the campaigns planned for 2020, only eight (Brazil, Ethiopia, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia) have resumed their campaigns after an initial delay“, they add.