Saturday, 23 March, 2019

Measles outbreak in Pacific Northwest about half of U.S. cases

Twelve Waikato people have caught measles so far in 2019 GILLIAN FLACCUS APTwelve Waikato people have caught measles so far in 2019
Celia Hoffman | 02 March, 2019, 02:10

And in Vancouver, the local health authority reported two new cases of measles on Wednesday, bringing the total number of infected patients to 15.

All U.S. states require most parents to vaccinate their children against some preventable diseases, including measles, mumps, rubella and whooping cough, to be able to attend school.

But the World Health Organization a year ago said cases worldwide had soared almost 50 per cent in 2018, killing around 136,000 people.

"This is a wake-up call", said UNICEF's Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore in a statement Wednesday.

This week's hearing at Congress recognized that the remedy to the public health threat is to provide communities and parents with "real, science-based information" about the safety and importance of vaccinations.

In Yemen, where three years of conflict has led to a measles outbreak, local authorities with support from UNICEF, the World Health Organization and GAVI, vaccinated more than 11.5 million children last month.

Negative attitudes towards immunisation there, as well as a previous shortage in the vaccine, have been blamed for the upsurge in cases.

The outbreak now in the Philippines has been blamed on controversy that broke over a dengue fever vaccine as potential side effects to the shot were not properly advertised creating mistrust among the public against all vaccines.

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Brazil have registered in 2017, not a single measles case in 2018, however, had 10.262 cases. Also in France, the number of diseases in 2018, was increased to 2.269 cases. Moldova had 312 cases in 2018, Montenegro had 203 cases in 2018, and Uzbekistan had 17.

The disease "has seen a 30% increase in cases globally", the report states.

"These cases haven't happened overnight. Just as the serious outbreaks we are seeing today took hold in 2018, lack of action today will have disastrous consequences for children tomorrow", Fore said.

Poor health infrastructure, low awareness, civil disorder, complacency and a backlash against vaccinations in some cases were driving forces in these recent measles outbreaks, according to the agency.

Ninety-eight countries reported more cases of measles in 2018 compared with 2017, and the world body warned that conflict, complacency and the growing anti-vaccine movement threatened to undo decades of work to tame the disease.

Measles is an extremely contagious and, in rare cases, deadly infection that was once thought to be almost eliminated from the United States due to widespread vaccination of children with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.

"A patient with measles can go to the doctor, cough in the exam room and two hours later another patient coming into the same exam room can be infected", Peterson says. It spreads through air and infects the respiratory tract.

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