By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Globally, measles cases are being reported at higher numbers through the mid-point of 2019, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The latest preliminary reports reveal in the first six months of 2019, reported measles cases are the highest they have been in any year since 2006 and there have been almost three times as many cases reported to date in 2019 as there were at this same time last year.

Provisional data shows for the period of January 1 through July 31 2019, 182 countries reported 364,808 measles cases to WHO. For this same period last year, 129,239 measles cases were reported from 181 countries. Big increases have been reported in Africa, Europe and Southeast Asia.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar and Ukraine have reported the highest numbers of cases this year. In addition, a number of other countries have reported major ongoing outbreaks.

Numbers are up in the United States where measles cases are the highest in a quarter century. In Europe, there have been close to 90,000 cases reported for the first six months of this year: this exceeds those recorded for the whole of 2018 (84,462) – already the highest in this current decade.

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WHO states the largest outbreaks are in countries with low measles vaccination coverage, currently or in the past, which has left large numbers of people vulnerable to the disease. At the same time, protracted outbreaks are occurring even in countries with high national vaccination rates.

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