Preliminary data published by the World Health Organization (WHO) show measles cases are continuing to rise, with reported cases increasing by 300 per cent in the first three months of 2019 compared with the same period in 2018. According to the data, 170 countries have reported 112,163 measles cases to the WHO so far this year. In April 2018, there were 28,124 measles cases from 163 countries.
The WHO said a number of countries are in the midst of “sizeable measles outbreaks”, with all regions of the world experiencing a sustained rise in cases. It said in recent months, there had been spikes in case numbers in countries with high overall vaccination coverage, including the United States of America, Israel, Thailand and Tunisia, "as the disease has spread fast among clusters of unvaccinated people". Earlier this month, authorities in New York declared an emergency amid a measles outbreak in parts of Brooklyn.
The WHO said responding to measles would require a range of approaches to ensure all children get their vaccines on time, as well as "effective public-facing communication and engagement on the critical importance of vaccination, and the dangers of the diseases they prevent".