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World faces ‘perfect storm’ for measles outbreak affecting children, WHO warns

A spike in the number of measles cases around the world has sparked concerns over the potential for serious outbreaks this year.

Almost 17,338 measles cases were reported worldwide in January and February 2022, compared to 9,665 during the first two months of last year – which represents a rise of 79%.

Unicef and the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned that there is a “perfect storm” for serious outbreaks of the vaccine-preventable illnesses such as measles.

As of this month, the agencies report 21 large and disruptive measles outbreaks around the world in the last 12 months.

The five countries with the largest measles outbreaks since the past year include Somalia, Yemen, Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Ethiopia.

The coronavirus pandemic has seen much of health funding and resources diverted to deal with the spread of the virus since 2020.

In 2020, the first year of the pandemic, 23 million children missed out on basic childhood vaccines through routine health services, the highest number since 2009 and 3.7 million more than in 2019.

These pandemic-related disruptions – as well as increasing inequalities in access to vaccines – has left many children without protection against contagious diseases while Covid restrictions are eased in most countries, the two organisations said.

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Source: The Independent, 28 April 2022


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