The Philippines one of the three countries seeing the highest spikes on measles outbreak among just 10 countries were responsible for three-quarters of a global gush in measles cases last year, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNICEF) reported the previous day.
So far, 98 countries informed more cases of measles in 2018 equated with 2017, and the world body warned that conflict, complacency and the growing anti-vaccine movement threatened to undo decades of work to tame the disease.
“This is a wakeup call. We have a safe, effective and inexpensive vaccine against a highly contagious disease – a vaccine that saved almost a million lives every year over the last two decades,” stated Henrietta Fore, executive director of UNICEF.
“These cases haven’t happened overnight. Just as the serious outbreaks we are seeing today took hold in 2018, lack of action today will have disastrous consequences for children tomorrow.”
The World Health Organization last year stated cases had risen up to 50 percent in 2018, claiming lives of around 136,000 people globally.
Ukraine, Brazil and the Philippines had the largest year-on-year surges in cases. In Ukraine alone there were 35,120 cases – that is nearly 30,000 added from 2017.
The WHO last month listed “vaccine hesitancy” among the top 10 most pressing global health threats for 2019 and that the resurgence of the disease in some countries has been linked to medically unsubstantiated claims linking the measles vaccine to autism, which have been widely spread in part on social media by members of the so-called “anti-vaxx” movement.