The World Health Organization (WHO) reports preliminary global data that shows reported cases rose by 300 percent in the first three months of 2019, compared to the same period in 2018.

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By region, Africa has recorded a 700% increase, the Americas 60%, Europe 300%, the Eastern Mediterranean 100%, with 40% increases in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific.

There are several very large outbreaks around the globe to include Madagascar, the Philippines and Ukraine, where hundreds of fatalities have been reported, mostly among young children.

Vaccination campaigns are underway to bring country outbreaks under control, for example:

  • After conducting emergency vaccination campaigns targeting 7 million children from 6 months through 9 years of age, Madagascar is now seeing overall declines in measles cases and deaths.
  • In the Philippines, over 3,890,000 doses of the measles and rubella vaccine have been given to children aged under 5 years.

10 Most Important Infectious Disease Stories of 2018: Outbreak News Today

Measles is one of the world’s most contagious diseases, with the potential to be extremely severe. In 2017, the most recent year for which estimates are available, it caused close to 110,000 deaths. Even in high-income countries, complications result in hospitalization in up to a quarter of cases, and can lead to lifelong disability, from brain damage and blindness to hearing loss.

Measles: Without renewed focus on vaccination efforts, the disease may rebound in full force