20.7 C
Tuesday, March 21, 2023

‘Perfect Storm’ of Measles Outbreak Ahead, Children at Risk Worldwide, Says WHO

WHO and UNICEF have warned of an increased risk of measles spreading, citing a roughly 80% increase in worldwide cases

Must read

Transcontinental Times Staff
Transcontinental Times Staffhttps://www.transcontinentaltimes.com
Submissions filed under "Staff" are acredited to their authors at the bottom of the article if any.

SWITZERLAND: The World Health Organization and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund have warned of an increased risk of measles spreading, citing a roughly 80% increase in worldwide cases in 2022 compared to 2021.

“In January and February 2022, about 17,338 measles cases were reported worldwide, compared to 9,665 in the first two months of 2021,” the organizations said in a news statement on Wednesday.

- Advertisement -

“There are 21 large and disruptive outbreaks, including in Africa and the East Mediterranean region,” they added.

“Pandemic-related interruptions, increasing inequities in vaccination access, and shifting resources away from routine immunization are leaving too many children vulnerable to measles and other vaccine-preventable infections,” the organizations warned.

- Advertisement -

They went on to say that as towns and countries loosen COVID-19 pandemic regulations, measles outbreaks are more likely.

“It’s encouraging to see that people in many places are starting to feel safe enough from COVID-19 to participate in more social activities,” UNICEF executive director Catherine Russell said in a statement. 

- Advertisement -

“However, doing so in regions where children are not routinely vaccinated creates the perfect storm for the spread of a disease like measles,” she added.

According to statistics, 23 million youngsters will lose out on childhood vaccines in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic, as well as hostilities in Ukraine, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Afghanistan, have hampered childhood immunization campaigns recently.

As of April 1, 57 vaccine-preventable disease programs are slated to take place in 43 countries. Around 73 million children are at risk of contracting the disease as a result of missed vaccines. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the programs have been postponed. Out of these, 19 are measles campaigns. 

“Coverage at or above 95% with two doses of the safe and effective measles vaccine can protect against measles,” according to WHO and UNICEF. In 2020, first dose coverage was below 70% in all five nations with the most cases in the previous year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States released data last week showing that measles vaccination rates among kindergarten pupils fell to 93.6 percent in the 2020-2021 school year.

“We are concerned that children may be vulnerable to preventable diseases like measles and whooping cough, which are extremely contagious and can be very serious, especially for babies and young children,” Dr. Shannon Stokley, deputy director of the CDC’s Immunization Services Division, said of the vaccination data release.

Also Read: Record-Breaking Heatwave Grips India


- Advertisement -


- Advertisement -

Trending Today