Number of measles deaths fell sharply



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WHO reports fewer measles cases
11.02.2014

According to a current estimate by the World Health Organization (WHO), measles deaths have dropped sharply and have reached a new low. However, the WHO is not completely satisfied with the development, because too many people are still dying from the virus.

78 percent decline In 2012, the worldwide number of measles deaths reached a new low. As reported by the World Health Organization (WHO), 122,000 people died of the virus infection this year. In 2000 there were 562,400 deaths, which corresponds to a decrease of around 78 percent. According to the WHO, the number of measles outbreaks registered worldwide also decreased by 77 percent during this period. According to the report in their Weekly Epidemiological Report, 13.8 million deaths from vaccinations were prevented during this period.

One billion children vaccinated The drop in numbers is due to the very high vaccination rate worldwide. According to a press release, approximately 84 percent of children received routine vaccination in the first year of life. A second vaccine dose is also being issued in a total of 145 countries worldwide to ensure immunity. In addition to these routine vaccinations, around 145 million children were immunized with mass vaccinations in 2012. Taken together, a billion children have been vaccinated worldwide since 2000. Those who are vaccinated could no longer spread the disease.

Combined measles-mumps vaccination
In Germany you can now get a quadruple vaccine against measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), there were a total of 1,772 measles diseases nationwide in 2013. For Germany, this represents the strongest wave of illness in seven years. With 790 cases, Bavaria has even reached a peak since 2002. The reason for this is above all the vaccination fatigue of some parents. In addition to the typical red skin spots, measles also causes fever and a very poor and weakened general condition. Measles is not a simple childhood disease, it also affects adults.

Measles only eradicated on the American continent Even though the number of reported diseases is declining internationally, there are still countries in which this is not or hardly noticeable. In 2012, for example, the Democratic Republic of the Congo reported 72,029 cases, India 18,668 cases, Indonesia 15,489 and Ukraine 12,746 cases. Measles outbreaks occurred to a large extent in a total of five of the six WHO regions (Africa, Southeast Asia, Europe, America, East Mediterranean and West Pacific). Measles is only considered extinct on the American continent, but diseases of other regions are always imported there as well. Many countries, including Germany, also did not reach their vaccination targets at the originally agreed time.

Measles remains a global threat In 2012, a total of 194 countries approved the Global Vaccine Action Plan to contain measles worldwide. Among other things, this plan provides for the number of measles deaths to decrease by at least 95 percent by the end of 2015. This is based on the data from the year 2000. In addition, measles is to be eradicated in at least five of the six WHO regions by the end of 2020. 120,000 deaths in a year are still far too much for an illness that could actually be easily eradicated. The WHO communication does not sound very positive: "Measles remain a global threat." (Sb)

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