Number of fatalities from measles rises significantly

Number of fatalities from measles rises significantly

After gross failures in the fight against measles, it is currently spreading again worldwide. Around 140.000 people died from the highly contagious disease last year, mostly children under the age of five, according to the world health organization (WHO).

The number of fatalities has fallen in a long-term comparison; in 2000, more than 535 people died from measles.000 people of the disease. Recently, however, the numbers have started to rise again. According to WHO estimates, there were around 16 cases of HIV in 2018.000 more measles deaths than in 2017. Measles spreads in many places, especially in the congo. One reason, according to the WHO, is that the vaccination rate is too low. Experts complain about gaps in the supply of vaccines, among other things.

Like the number of deaths, the number of infections estimated has also changed recently and, after a drastic decline, has also risen again. According to WHO estimates, there were nearly 9.8 million measles cases in 2018, compared to nearly 7.6 million the previous year.

Measles symptoms include a rash of the oral mucosa and the characteristic brownish-pink skin spots. The infection temporarily weakens the immune system, making it easier to develop middle ear infections, bronchitis, pneumonia or diarrhea. A particularly dreaded consequence is certain brain infections that can be fatal.

Since many countries do not have mandatory reporting, only a fraction of measles cases become known, according to the WHO. By far the most infections reported in 2019 through mid november were from the congo. Authorities believe that more than 5,000 people have died of measles there alone – far more than in the ebola outbreak since summer 2018, which has claimed around 2,200 lives so far.

In europe, a major outbreak occurred in ukraine with nearly 57.000 reported cases. There are also major problems with measles in liberia, madagascar and somalia. These five countries ultimately account for nearly half of all reported measles cases. Even in the U.S. – once considered measles-free – the trend is up again, with the country recording its highest number of cases in 25 years. Last week, at least 53 people died in an outbreak of measles in the polynesian island nation of samoa.

"The health systems in some countries are very weak. There are often gaps in the supply chain, especially when it comes to the measles vaccine," marcus bachmann, who recently served as head of operations in the congo for the organization "arzte ohne grenzen" several times, told the german press agency. The measles vaccine must be constantly cooled until it is administered, which is also a major challenge in many countries.

In the congo in particular, the focus was also on the fight against ebola, which also had a significant financial impact. "Local people can’t understand this imbalance at all. They are very worried about measles because it often kills their children," said bachmann. There is little reason for optimism for the coming year, said bachmann. The typical problems in some countries – poor monitoring and slow testing of new traps, lack of vaccinations and general uncertainty due to conflicts – cannot be solved "overnight".

"The fact that a child dies because of a disease like measles, which can be prevented by vaccination, is frankly an outrage and a collective failure to protect the most vulnerable," said tedros adhanom ghebreyesus, director general of the WHO. According to the organization, however, vaccination rates have remained constant worldwide over the past decade.

WHO estimates that 86 percent of children receive a first vaccination, but only about 70 percent then receive the recommended second dose. WHO says 95 percent vaccination rate with two doses needed in each country to protect population from disease.

According to the robert koch institute, 501 cases of measles were reported in germany from january to the end of november – in 2018, 528 cases were reported in the same period. However, the numbers in germany fluctuate greatly from year to year. They have ranged from 165 to 2465 falls per year over the past ten years.

In order to provide greater protection against the disease, the german parliament passed a law in november requiring mandatory vaccination. It should become the 1. March 2020 come into force. Parents must then prove that their children have been vaccinated before being admitted to daycare centers or schools. For children already in kindergarten or school, proof must be provided by 31 december. July 2021. Death penalty of up to 2,500 euro. The vaccination requirement will also apply to teachers and educators, as well as to staff in medical facilities.

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