Measles is an ‘imminent threat’ worldwide, CDC and WHO report finds

Measles is an “imminent threat” around the world, according to a new joint report released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

Despite a two-dose vaccine that is more than 97% effective at preventing infection being available for decades, gains made at beating back the potentially dangerous childhood disease have been lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report found that in 2021, nearly 40 million children — a record-high — missed a dose of the measles vaccine. Specifically, 25 million missed their first dose and 14.7 million missed their second dose.

“The paradox of the pandemic is that while vaccines against COVID-19 were developed in record time and deployed in the largest vaccination campaign in history, routine immunization programs were badly disrupted, and millions of kids missed out on life-saving vaccinations against deadly diseases like measles,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, in a statement.

PHOTO: Sick child with red rash spots from measles.

Sick child with red rash spots from measles.

Bilanol/Getty Images/iStockphoto

“Getting immunization programs back on track is absolutely critical. Behind every statistic in this report is a child at risk of a preventable disease,” the statement continued.

To prevent the disease from spreading and to achieve herd immunity, the CDC and WHO say at least 95% of children need to receive the vaccine.

However, just 81% of children globally have received the first dose and 71% have received the second dose, the lowest coverage worldwide seen since 2008.

Consequently, there were 9 million cases of measles and 128,000 deaths around the world with at least 22 countries experiencing “large and disruptive outbreaks.”

“The record number of children under-immunized and susceptible to measles shows the profound damage immunization systems have sustained during the COVID-19 pandemic,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.

“Measles outbreaks illustrate weaknesses in immunization programs, but public health officials can use outbreak response to identify communities at risk, understand causes of under- vaccination, and help deliver locally tailored solutions to ensure vaccinations are available to all.”

No region of the world has achieved and sustained measles elimination, the report found. Since 2016, at least 10 countries that had previously eliminated measles reported outbreaks – including the U.S.

Measles is an incredibly contagious disease. According to the CDC, one infected patient can infect at least 10 close contacts who are not protected either through masking or vaccination.

Measles complications can range from non-threatening, including rashes, to severe, such as viral sepsis, pneumonia or brain swelling.

Prior to the measles vaccine, an estimated 3 to 4 million Americans were infected annually with measles, 48,000 were hospitalized and 400 to 500 died, the CDC says.

“Plummeting measles vaccination rates should set off every alarm,” Elizabeth Cousens, president and CEO of the United Nations Foundation, said in a statement. “Tens of millions of children are at risk of this deadly, yet entirely preventable disease until we get global vaccination efforts back on track. There is no time to waste. We must work urgently to ensure life-saving vaccines reach every last child.”

Source ABC

A tech blog author and superhero who writes about technology and its impact on society, business, and everyday life

Related Posts

China reports 2 new COVID deaths as some restrictions eased

HONG KONG — China on Sunday reported two additional deaths from COVID-19 as some cities move cautiously to ease anti-pandemic restrictions amid increasingly vocal public frustration over the measures. The…

Read more

NY state health commissioner resigning to return to Harvard

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York’s state health commissioner will resign Jan. 1 after 13 months in the job to return to Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Mary…

Read more

Beijing, Shenzhen scrap COVID-19 tests for public transport

BEIJING — Chinese authorities on Saturday announced a further easing of COVID-19 curbs with major cities such as Shenzhen and Beijing no longer requiring negative tests to take public transport….

Read more

Indiana judge won’t block probe over 10-year-old’s abortion

INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana judge on Friday rejected an attempt to block the state’s Republican attorney general from continuing his office’s investigation of an Indianapolis doctor who has spoken publicly…

Read more

Flu season worsens as 44 states report high activity

FILE – A flu vaccine is readied at the L.A. Care and Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plans’ Community Resource Center where they were offering members and the public…

Read more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *