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A projected near-doubling of measles infections has been identified amid rising severe and protracted outbreaks all over the planet, in poor and rich countries alike, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.
The appeal to Member States to close gaps in vaccine coverage follows the previously announced news that an estimated 110,000 people died from the highly infectious but easily preventable disease in 2017. “Measles is not going anywhere…It’s everyone’s responsibility,” said Dr. Katherine O’Brien, Director of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals at WHO. “For one person infected, up to nine or 10 people could catch the virus.”
The WHO alert follows its announcement that as of mid-January this year, it had seen 229,068 reported cases of measles during 2018, in 183 Member States, which have until April to file data on the previous year’s disease burden. This is almost double the 115,117 cases reported at the same point last year, and WHO’s concern is based on the fact that the final number of infections rose to 173,330… (Feb. 14, 2019)