UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — Hundreds of new cases of measles are reported almost daily by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The measles epidemic is gaining momentum. In the Philippines, 12,000 people have been affected by the disease, of which at least 203 have died.
In Madagascar, since October 2018, about 69,000 infections have been reported. More than 550 people have not survived and another 300 deaths may be linked to this disease.
In Europe, in 2018, the number of measles cases has tripled compared to 2017 and has increased 15-fold compared to 2016 – more than 82,000 people in 47 of the continent’s 53 countries. 72 died of the disease.
The situation in Ukraine is particularly serious, with more than 53,000 patients last year, including 16 official fatal cases. The situation continues to deteriorate rapidly.
According to official information, between December 28 and February 22, in less than two months, more than 24,000 people became ill with measles, nine of whom died. But the authorities refuse to announce the epidemic in the country.
Yet it is Ukraine that is accused by the West of spreading the disease. “Following the measles epidemic in Ukraine, the number of patients in Europe has tripled,” recently titled the famous science popularization magazine Science .
Poles, neighbors of Ukraine, sound the alarm. They deplore 339 cases in 2018, most in November and December. In January, 380 cases have already been identified, more than in the previous two months together.
Russia has just sent 100,000 free measles vaccines to neighboring Belarus, where the situation is relatively positive, but the republic is also in the risk zone because of its proximity to Ukraine.
Among the “leaders” of the continent are also Serbia (5,076 patients), France (2,913) and Italy (2,517).
The morbidity in Russia is much lower: 17.3 cases per 1 million inhabitants . For comparison, in France this rate is 44.7, in Greece 196.8, Montenegro 322.6, Georgia 563.8, and 1.209.25 in Ukraine.
Nevertheless, last year, 2,256 people contracted measles in Russia, compared with 725 cases in 2017, a 3.5-fold increase. At present, measles outbreaks have been reported in Novosibirsk (52 cases) and Yekaterinburg (35). In the Vladimir region, where a gypsy camp became a focus of the disease in January (25 sick children), the situation was brought under control. Households have also appeared in Moscow, St. Petersburg and several other parts of the country.
Experts are unanimous as to the causes of the return of measles: the decline in the level of vaccination of the population. Knowing that while in the Third World countries there are often not enough vaccines, in the West it is the refusal to be vaccinated for questions of principle that has become very popular over the last twenty years.
Some think they have become useless, while others think vaccines are dangerous and potentially harmful to health. The world has forgotten the time when measles was one of the main causes of infant mortality.
In the end, the 95% population vaccination rate adopted by WHO as a guarantee against outbreaks and outbreaks of measles is increasingly violated.
Once again, the example of Ukraine is revealing. Until the mid-2000s, the vaccination rate was in line with global standards.
It was until 2008, when the death of a teenager the day after his vaccination made a lot of noise in the country. Public opinion was then accused of the dangerous and poor quality vaccine, which, it turns out, had been sent to Ukraine by Unicef as part of the humanitarian aid.
After this affair, parents began to refuse in large numbers to vaccinate their children. To this was added several scandals around supplies, after which Ukraine did not buy vaccines for a few years. In the end, in the mid-2010s, less than half of the children had been vaccinated in the country, which, according to the UN, corresponds to the level of Somalia and Nigeria.
So it is not surprising that Ukraine has become the world leader in this disease. The new vaccination campaign has not yet had a significant effect.
It is ironic that the world is facing a large-scale resurgence of measles by the time it was planned for complete elimination. This was precisely the target set by WHO by 2020 in line with the Global Action Plan on Vaccines.
Be that as it may, the response of states to this challenge illustrates their level of effectiveness. And it talks about all aspects of the problem – from the vaccination rate of the population to the detection and elimination of the outbreak.
In Russia, both public and non-governmental structures act in a coherent way: isolation of the sick, control of the state of the people who have been in contact with the first, quarantine of the places of contamination, temporary restrictions for the unvaccinated persons…
However, the main fight is to bring the population back to their senses.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for VOP from different countries around the world – edited and published by VOP staff in our newsroom.
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