Published: Wed, April 17, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Officials announce new measures to fight NY measles outbreak

Officials announce new measures to fight NY measles outbreak

The World Health Organization said Monday there were more than 110,000 measles cases worldwide for the first three months of 2019 - an increase of almost 300 percent over a year ago.

Measles is extremely contagious and can be deadly.

Although the disease could be prevented if 95 per cent of the population were immunised, the World Health Organization reported that global coverage for the first dose of the two-step vaccination has stalled at 85 per cent for several years. The United Nations body said provisional data has indicated a "clear trend", with all regions of the world experiencing sustained rises in cases.

Health officials say 329 cases of measles have been confirmed since the beginning of the outbreak last October.

The WHO also estimates only one in 10 cases are reported, and that's just an average, which varies by region. Yet last week, 90 new cases were reported by the Centers for Disease Control. Cases in NY and New Jersey occurred primarily among unvaccinated people in Orthodox Jewish communities. The Ministry of Health recently highlighted that since 2012, all cases of measles in New Zealand came from travellers bringing the disease from overseas and that there are now significant measles outbreaks in many countries.

Increasing the coverage of vaccination maximizes protection, but 95 percent vaccination coverage is needed to prevent outbreaks, according to WHO.

Both New York City and Rockland are struggling to contain a measles outbreak centered in ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods while battling lawsuits over their efforts to require vaccinations. There were almost 82,500 cases in European countries in 2018 and 72 deaths of children and adults, according to the World Health Organization.

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"When you make the decision not to vaccinate your child, please understand you're also making that decision for the people around your child", New York City's Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services, Herminia Palacio, told NPR on Wednesday.

-The majority of people who got measles were unvaccinated.

The number of measles cases in the US continues to climb, with more than 550 cases reported from January to April, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

But the so-called anti-vax movement - driven by fraudulent claims linking the MMR vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella, and a risk of autism in children - has gained traction.

Even more horrifyingly, right now, we're at a tipping point, with measles numbers rising at a rate not seen in decades. "It would be a travesty for children's health if there were widespread outbreaks of diseases which can kill or permanently damage children".

"Preliminary global data shows that reported cases rose by 300 per cent in the first three months of 2019, compared to the same period in 2018". And the European Union is tallying about a thousand cases a month. His one infection resulted in more than 160 others getting sick.

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