UNICEF has warned that global cases of measles are surging to alarmingly high levels, led by 10 countries accounting for more than 74 per cent of the total increase, and several others that had previously been declared measles free.
According to the data, globally 98 countries reported more cases of measles in 2018 than in 2017, with Ukraine, the Philippines and Brazil showing the largest increases in measles cases. In a statement, UNICEF highlighted data showing no slowdown in the increase in cases in some countries in 2019. “In Ukraine alone, there were 35,120 cases of measles in 2018. According to the government, another 24,042 people were infected just in the first two months of 2019. In the Philippines so far this year, there have been 12,736 measles cases and 203 deaths, compared with 15,599 cases in the whole of 2018,” it said.
Henrietta Fore, UNICEF’s Executive Director said the data are a wake-up call. “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,” said Fore.