Measles cases around the world jumped by 18 percent in 2022 due to low vaccination rates, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The new report found that measles cases increased by 18 percent in 2022 compared to 2021 and totaled more than 9 million cases worldwide. The organizations also found that deaths related to measles also increased by 43 percent and totaled 136,000 deaths, mostly among children.
“The increase in measles outbreaks and deaths is staggering, but unfortunately, not unexpected given the declining vaccination rates we’ve seen in the past few years,” said John Vertefeuille, director of CDC’s Global Immunization Division. “Measles cases anywhere pose a risk to all countries and communities where people are under-vaccinated. Urgent, targeted efforts are critical to prevent measles disease and deaths.”
The report cited low vaccination rates among children during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason for the increase. In 2021, estimated coverage of the first doses of measles-containing vaccine dropped to the lowest since 2008.
“In 2022, measles vaccination coverage and global surveillance showed some recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic setbacks; however, coverage declined in low-income countries, and globally, years of suboptimal immunization coverage left millions of children unprotected,” the report stated.
The report noted that measles is preventable when given two doses of the vaccine. However, 33 million children missed a measles dose in 2022, including 22 million who missed their first dose and 11 million who missed their second dose.
Low-income countries have the lowest vaccination rates and are also where the risk of death from measles is the highest. The report said that of the 22 million children who missed their first dose last year, more than half lived in just 10 countries: Angola, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Nigeria, Pakistan and the Philippines.
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Author: Lauren Sforza