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WHO: Measles cases higher in 2019 globally, dramatic rise in Africa

THE World Health Organisation has reported that the number of measles cases in the first quarter of 2019 has tripled compared with the same in 2018.

The UN health body said Africa had witnessed the most dramatic rise-up to 700 percent.

The body said the actual numbers may be far greater since only one in ten cases are reported globally. It added that the preliminary global data indicated a clear trend with all regions of the world seeing outbreaks.

“Spikes in case numbers have also occurred in countries with high overall vaccination coverage, including the United States,” WHO said.

“So far this year, 170 countries have reported 112,163 measles cases to WHO. At this time last year, 163 countries had reported 28,124 cases.”

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can sometimes lead to serious health complications, including infections of the lungs and brain.

Nigeria has not been excluded from this infectious disease as there have been reported cases of measles in the country’s first three months of the year. A measles outbreak was reported on March 20 where the lives of 13 children were lost in Borno State.

Eva Hinds, a Communication Specialist with United Nations Children’s Fund had said that only 65 percent of eligible Nigerian children receive their first dose of measles vaccine every year. And she said that this low coverage has led to the deaths of at least 13 children, in Borno State,  in the measles outbreak.

Madagascar have also been affected highly by the disease. Since September 2018, not less than 800 people have died from measles.

The WHO said the disease is entirely preventable with the right vaccines. But global coverage of the first immunisation stage has stalled at 85 percent, against the 95 percent needed to prevent outbreaks.

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