Global measles cases up 300% year-on-year: WHO

  1. The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that measles cases worldwide rose by 300% during the first three months of 2019 compared with the same period in 2018.
  2. Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that is spread by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing. It can be entirely prevented with a two-dose vaccine.
  3. According to the WHO, measles remains an important cause of death among young children globally. When more than five cases of measles are reported in a place in a short span of time, it is considered an outbreak.
  4. Africa has seen a 700% increase in cases in the first three months of 2019 compared to 2018. Further, Madagascar is the hardest-hit country, reporting more than 69,000 cases in its ongoing measles outbreak.
  5. The rise in measles cases has raised widespread concerns. The cases have not only been reported from areas with low vaccination coverage but also countries with high vaccination coverage such as the United States.