Title: Global Measles Cases, Deaths, and Outbreaks Alarm WHO and CDC
In recent years, the global rise in measles cases, deaths, and outbreaks has become a growing concern for the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Compounded by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccination rates for measles have struggled to recover, exacerbating the problem.
Between 2000 and 2019, global coverage for the first dose of a measles-containing vaccine showed promising improvement, rising from 72 percent to 86 percent. However, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a setback, with vaccination rates dropping to 83 percent and 81 percent in 2020 and 2021, respectively. These rates are the lowest recorded since 2008. Thankfully, a recent joint report by the WHO and CDC shows a slight improvement in 2022, with coverage for the first dose reaching 83 percent.
Alarming data reveals that only 34 percent of the 194 WHO countries achieved the target vaccination rate of 95 percent or higher for the first measles vaccine. Even more concerning is the fact that two doses are required to effectively combat the disease, but the estimated coverage rate for two doses was only 74 percent in 2022.
During the emergency phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, measles transmission declined. However, due to lower vaccination coverage, the disease is now making a comeback. Recent estimates indicate an 18 percent increase in measles cases between 2021 and 2022, with a staggering 68 percent rise in the number of countries experiencing large or disruptive outbreaks. Shockingly, during the same period, estimated deaths related to measles rose by 43 percent.
Low-income countries have shown no recovery in vaccination coverage, experiencing the largest drops. These countries, already burdened with limited healthcare resources, are at high risk of measles outbreaks further overwhelming their fragile systems.
Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the WHO and CDC are calling for immediate action. They are urging countries and global partners to accelerate the recovery of vaccination and surveillance programs to achieve regional measles elimination goals. The efforts should focus on increasing vaccination coverage, particularly in low-income countries, where the need is most acute.
The global fight against measles requires collective action and commitment. Efforts to combat the disease should be intensified to prevent further spread, reduce the number of cases and deaths, and safeguard the health of communities worldwide.
In conclusion, the resurgence of measles cases, deaths, and outbreaks has become a cause for alarm, drawing the attention of the WHO and CDC. The drop in vaccination rates during the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the problem. Urgent action is needed to address this global public health issue, emphasizing the importance of vaccination and surveillance programs in the quest for regional measles elimination.