MEASLES OUTBREAK: Decreasing vaccination rates 'causing spread' worldwide

MEASLES OUTBREAK: Decreasing vaccination rates 'causing spread' worldwide

The Health Department urges anyone experiencing symptoms of measles to see a health care provider and everyone is encouraged to report suspected cases.

As well stated by Henrietta Fore, Unicef Executive Director, the measles virus will always find unvaccinated children.

He said: "Getting yourself and your children vaccinated against killer diseases is essential to staying healthy, and vaccine rejection is a serious and growing public health timebomb".

More than 110,000 measles cases were reported worldwide during the first three months of 2019, representing a near 300 per cent jump from the same period past year, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) data.

He said: 'While vaccine hesitancy may be a factor for a small minority of parents, we know from our parental attitudinal surveys that confidence in the immunisation programme is high - the proportion of parents with concerns that would make them consider not having their child immunised has been at an all-time low for the past three years.

A Unicef report showed that only 88 per cent of five-year-olds in the United Kingdom have had the required two doses of the MMR vaccine, well below the 95 per cent take-up needed to eliminate measles, mumps and rubella.

UNICEF also said the number of children who had missed the second dose were "even more alarming", with only 67% of children receiving it in 2017.

Two doses of the measles vaccine are essential to protect children and the World Health Organization says 95% vaccine coverage is needed for "herd immunity" against measles.

However, wealthy countries still had high coverage overall - about 94 percent for the first measles vaccine dose on average and 91 percent for the second.

According to the new analysis, the United States wins the title of high-income country with the most unvaccinated children, with over 2.5 million children not receiving the first measles jab. The US has the highest number of unvaccinated children - with 2,593,000 over the eight years. In 2017, Nigeria had nearly 4 million children under one year of age unvaccinated against measles, followed by India at 2.9 million. For Pakistan and Indonesia, the figure was 1.2 million, and for Ethiopia, 1.1 million.

In 2016 and 2017, uptake of the first dose of the MMR vaccine in five-year-olds in the United Kingdom exceeded 95% for the first time. UNICEF is working with Cameroon, Liberia and Nigeria to implement the second dose in 2019.

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For more information on measles, visit the Florida Department of Health's website. "It is critical not only to increase coverage but also to sustain vaccination rates at the right doses to create an umbrella of immunity for everyone". The analysis is based on UNICEF and WHO's estimation of national immunisation coverage of 194 countries for 2017. That is nearly 30% more than the next four high-income countries combined.

In low-income countries, poverty, supply shortages limit access to vaccines, UNICEF said.

As many as 247 children in Nepal were reported to have contracted this highly infectious illness in 2018 caused by the rubella virus and 99 children in 2017.

The CDC recommends the vaccine for every American over a year old.

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