A measles outbreak is currently sweeping across the world.
Among the countries affected by the current epidemic are the United Arab Emirates, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Myanmar, Philippines, Sudan, Thailand and Ukraine.
The outbreak has resulted in the deaths of many – with young children the majority of the casualties.Worryingly, a significant spike in cases has also been recorded over the past few months in countries with high overall vaccination coverage.
They include the United States of America, Israel, Thailand and Tunisia, with the disease spreading fast among clusters of unvaccinated people.According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), measles cases increased 300 per cent worldwide in the first three months of 2019 compared to the first three months in 2018.
Measles is one of the world’s most contagious diseases, with the potential to be extremely severe.
The WHO statement added that the recent increase follows consecutive increases over the past two years.“While this data is provisional and not yet complete, it indicates a clear trend. Many countries are in the midst of sizeable measles outbreaks, with all regions of the world experiencing sustained rises in cases.”
Measles is preventable by vaccine but a pointer to the epidemic is the fact that vaccination rates are declining.According to the most recent statistics, measles was responsible for 110,000 deaths globally in 2017.Nigeria is presently excluded from the list of countries affected by the global scourge but stringent preventive measures including a rigorous vaccination regime would have to be followed to ensure that this remains the case.