The increase in measles, a highly contagious fungus almost extinguished in many parts of the world a few years ago, was “deeply questioned,” the organizations said in a report on the fight against eradication of measles.
“Without urgent efforts to increase vaccination coverage and identify populations with unacceptable levels of under or unimmunized children, we risk losing decades of progress,” said Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Deputy Director General for World Health Organization programs, by announcing the results.
The results reinforced similar alarming results reported three months ago by the World Healt h Organization for Europe, which showed that measles had reached the highest level of two decades on the continent.
At least 95 percent of a population must have immunity to control the spread of measles, says public health care. But in several European countries, the figure is 85 percent or less. Health officials have been blamed for the immunity problem, partly due to parental negligence and the false belief that vaccines can cause autism and other suffering.
The measles increase in Latin America was partly attributable to an economic disaster that hit Venezuela, where many public health services have stopped or disappeared in dysfunction.
The number of officially reported measles cases in 2017 was 173 330, the report reported 31 percent higher than the levels in 2016. Still, the number of reported cases last year remained far below 853,479 reported in 2000.
The disease can cause weakening and sometimes lethal complications , severe diarrhea, dehydration, pneumonia and vision loss. Children and young children with weakened immune systems are particularly sensitive.
Calculated 110,000 people, mainly children, died of measles last year, reported the report.
The report “Progress Towards Regional Measle Elimination – Worldwide, 2000-2017,” is a joint publication of the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States.
Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, Vaccine Alliance, a advocacy group promoting vaccination in low-income countries, said the increase in reported cases showed that more efforts were needed to strengthen the immunization tires.
“Complementing the disease and spread of falsehood about the vaccine in Europe, a collapsing health system in Venezuela and pockets of fragility and low immunization coverage in Africa combine to create a global resurgence of measles after many years of progress,” he said.