Infographics: Mistrust of vaccinations contributes to global measles outbreaks
February 24, 2019 00:05 AM
There were 229,068 cases of measles and 136,000 deaths from the highly contagious disease worldwide in 2018, up 48 per cent from 2017, according to the World Health Organisation. By region in 2018, Africa saw 33,879 measles infections; of these, 4,391 were from Madagascar alone, including 922 deaths, in an ongoing outbreak that began last October. The Americas recorded nearly 17,000 cases of measles in 2018, the Eastern Mediterranean, just under 22,000. In Europe, there were 59,578 infections, behind South-East Asia with 73,133.
The Philippines has seen more than 8,400 cases since January, and 136 people have died from the disease. To prevent outbreaks and eliminate measles, the WHO urges countries to sustain the regimen of high immunisation coverage with two doses of measles vaccine. Mistrust of vaccinations in recent years has seen vaccine coverage stall at 85 per cent, far short of the 95 per cent needed to prevent outbreaks. Suspicion has centred on distrust of experts, scientists and elites. U.S. President Donald Trump has even linked MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccinations to autism, despite exhaustive scientific research that concludes that the vaccine has no association with the disorder.