Measles Cases Continue to Rise Around the World

Reported cases of measles across the globe increased by 300% in the first 3 months of 2019 compared with the same period last year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which cites a deep mistrust of vaccines, gaps in immunization coverage and lack of access to health care facilities or routine checkups as key reasons for the surge.

Reported cases of measles across the globe increased by 300% in the first 3 months of 2019 compared with the same period last year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which cites a deep mistrust of vaccines, gaps in immunization coverage and lack of access to health care facilities or routine checkups as key reasons for the surge. WHO earlier this month sounded the alarm over the disease's grip on the Democratic Republic of Congo, where nearly 5,000 people with measles died in the first 10 months of this year. The highly contagious disease is caused by a virus and typically begins with a high fever and rash that can lead to complications of deafness, pneumonia, diarrhea and encephalitis. Though measles has become largely preventable through vaccines administered during childhood, WHO estimates that 110,000 people, most of them children under the age of 5 and living in developing countries in Africa and Asia, succumbed to it in 2017. Over 1,200 measles cases were confirmed in 31 U.S. states in 2019 as of early November, with a majority of the new cases appearing in New York. The outbreak constitutes the greatest number of cases reported in the United States since 1992, according to CDC.