There is now an imminent threat of measles spreading in several regions of the world, as COVID-19 caused a decline in vaccination coverage and weakened surveillance of the disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday. ) and the United States Public Health Agency.
Measles is one of the most contagious human viruses and is almost entirely preventable with vaccination. However, it requires a coverage of 95% of the population to avoid outbreaks.
A record nearly 40 million children missed a dose of the measles vaccine in 2021 due to obstacles created by the pandemic. covidthey said the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States in a joint report.
While measles cases have yet to rise dramatically compared to previous years, now is the time to act, the head of measles at the WHOPatrick O’Connor.
“We are at a crossroads” he said on Tuesday. “It will be a very challenging 12 to 24 months trying to mitigate it.”
A combination of factors — such as persistent social distancing measures and the cyclical nature of measles — may explain why there has yet to be an explosion in cases despite widening immunity gaps, but this could change quickly, O said. ‘Connor, who highlighted his contagiousness.
The WHO it has already seen a rise in disruptive outbreaks since early 2022, rising from 19 to almost 30 in September, O’Connor said, adding that he was particularly concerned about parts of sub-Saharan Africa.