LONDON — Measles cases jumped by 79% in the primary two months of this yr in comparison with 2021, after coronavirus illness 2019 (COVID-19) and lockdowns disrupted baby vaccination campaigns world wide, in keeping with information from UNICEF and the World Well being Group (WHO).
In January and February, there have been 17,338 measles cases reported worldwide, up from 9,665 in the identical interval final yr.
Measles is a really contagious illness that may be notably harmful for younger youngsters and infants. It spreads extra shortly than Ebola, flu, or COVID-19.
UNICEF govt director Catherine Russell described the immunization gaps mixed with a return to social mixing in the wake of the pandemic as a “perfect storm.”
“Measles is more than a dangerous and potentially deadly disease. It is also an early indication that there are gaps in our global immunization coverage, gaps vulnerable children cannot afford.”
The 5 nations with the most important measles outbreaks in the final 12 months have been Somalia, Liberia, Yemen, Afghanistan and Ivory Coast. There have been 21 main outbreaks throughout that interval.
Baby immunization campaigns have been knocked off beam world wide through the coronavirus pandemic, and issues haven’t absolutely recovered.
Firstly of April, 58 campaigns in 43 nations have been nonetheless postponed, impacting 212 million folks — largely youngsters. Nineteen of these campaigns are for measles, placing 73 million youngsters in danger, UNICEF and WHO mentioned.
Immunization campaigns for illnesses like typhoid and polio have been additionally disrupted. Final month, Malawi reported its first polio case in many years whereas Pakistan, considered one of solely two nations the place polio stays endemic, recorded its first case for greater than a yr this month.
The WHO and UNICEF mentioned it was crucial to get the vaccination drives again on monitor. — Jennifer Rigby/Reuters