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African measles cases surge by 700%

Published on 11/07/19 at 11:07am

The number of cases of measles infection on the African continent has surged by 700%, according to data from the World Health Organization.

The stark rise follows the worrying trend around the world, with cases of the potentially fatal disease growing in prevalence across Europe and the US, broadly in line with declining rates of vaccination and mounting anti-vaccine sentiment around the world.

The crisis has led to the Republic of Chad to declare a state of emergency.  While the problem is spreading elsewhere in the world, poor access to adequate preventative treatment is being blamed for the rising crisis across the continent.

As reported by Al Jazeera, Dr Ousmane Houssin, who works in the region, commented: “Ninety percent of children have not been vaccinated because they don’t have access to treatment centres, and so most children under five are infected with the measles virus.”

Berengere Guais, Emergency Coordinator with Medecins Sans Frontieres, also remarked:  “We’re very worried because measles, combined with malnutrition, is a dangerous mix, and there aren’t enough international actors helping Chad’s Ministry of Health to tackle this growing outbreak.”

Matt Fellows

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