Title: Global Measles Cases and Deaths Surge amid Falling Vaccination Rates
In a shocking revelation, a joint report by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlights a severe increase in measles cases, deaths, and outbreaks between 2021 and 2022. The alarming findings underscore the urgent need for targeted actions to prevent further disease spread and fatalities.
According to the report, the estimated number of measles cases surged by a concerning 18%, reaching 9.2 million cases in 2022, compared to 7.8 million in the previous year. Equally distressing is the 43% rise in global measles deaths, with a devastating toll of 136,200 in 2022, up from 95,000 in 2021.
The number of countries grappling with “large or disruptive outbreaks” of measles soared by 68% during the same period, escalating from 22 in 2021 to an alarming 37 in 2022. This worldwide surge in measles outbreaks and deaths can be attributed to declining vaccination rates in recent years, sounding the alarm for immediate action.
It is important to recognize that measles cases anywhere pose a risk to all countries, particularly those with under-vaccinated populations. Experts emphasize that urgent and targeted efforts are crucial in preventing further disease spread and loss of lives.
The report further reveals that between 2000 and 2019, there was a significant increase in vaccine coverage worldwide, with the first MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) dose reaching 86%. However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic disrupted progress, causing coverage to drop to 83% in 2020 and further decline to 81% in 2021.
While global coverage rebounded to 83% in 2022, low-income countries continued to experience a worrisome decline in vaccination rates. Coverage in these countries fell from 71% in 2019 to 66% in 2022. Shockingly, over 22 million children missed their first MMR vaccine dose in 2022, with more than half residing in 10 specific countries, potentially leaving them vulnerable to measles outbreaks.
Public health officials express deep concern regarding the lack of recovery in measles vaccine coverage in low-income countries following the pandemic. They stress that coverage with both the first and second MMR doses must reach at least 95% to effectively protect communities from devastating outbreaks.
In conclusion, the alarming increase in measles cases, deaths, and outbreaks demands immediate action to combat declining vaccination rates worldwide. Concerted efforts are necessary to restore immunization coverage, particularly in low-income countries, to safeguard global populations from the life-threatening consequences of measles.
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