WHO warns of major measles, polio outbreaks
GENEVA. – Reported cases of measles have exploded by nearly 80 percent worldwide in the first two months of the year, the World Health Organisation and UNICEF announced on Wednesday.
The WHO has been sounding the alarm in recent months about the risk of “absolute catastrophe” if the dangerous delay in vaccinating children because of the Covid-19 pandemic is not made up for and if health restrictions are lifted too quickly.
The result is staggering: the number of cases jumped by 79 percent in the first two months of 2022, compared to the same period last year, according to WHO and Unicef. The two UN agencies now fear that serious outbreaks of measles, a highly contagious viral disease, could affect “millions of children” in 2022.
So far, some 17 338 cases of measles have been reported worldwide in January and February 2022, compared with 9 665 in the first two months of 2021. But the numbers are likely higher because the pandemic has disrupted surveillance systems.
The best protection against measles, which gets its name from the characteristic red patches all over the body, is very high vaccination coverage.
There have been 21 major measles outbreaks in the past 12 months (through April), mostly in Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean region. The countries with the largest measles outbreaks since last year are Somalia, Yemen, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Ethiopia. – Africanews.com