Despite Vaccines, Measles Spreading
Measles is making a rapid comeback in African, Asian and European countries despite being easily avoided through vaccination, the World Health Organization said Friday as countries pledged to sharply cut infections and deaths worldwide by 2015.
Since 2008, funding cuts for vaccination campaigns have allowed measles to spread again where previously it was close to being eradicated, the global body said.
“Being one of the most contagious diseases, measles is making a rapid comeback,” said Dr. Peter Strebel, who leads WHO’s work on measles.
Measles deaths among young children fell to 118,000 in 2008, compared with 1.1 million in 2000, according to WHO.
But the number of cases has surged over the past year, with large outbreaks reported in 30 African countries — from Mauritania to Zambia and Angola to Ethiopia — and Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Bulgaria.