The recent global resurgence of measles is threatening decades of progress, according to a new joint report from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Using updated disease modelling data, the report provides estimates of measles trends from 2000 to 2017.
During the period, uptake of the first dose of measles vaccine increased from 72 to 85 per cent and uptake of the second dose increased from 15 to 67 per cent. Annual reported measles incidence decreased by 83 per cent, from 145 to 25 cases per million population, and the estimated annual number of deaths from measles decreased by 80 per cent. Vaccination prevented approximately 21.1 million deaths.
However, during 2016-2017, measles cases increased by 31 per cent globally, and 20.8 million infants did not routinely receive the first dose in 2017.
“The resurgence of measles is of serious concern, with extended outbreaks occurring across regions, and particularly in countries that had achieved or were close to achieving measles elimination,” said Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Deputy Director General for Programmes at WHO. “Without urgent efforts to increase vaccination coverage and identify populations with unacceptable levels of under- or un-immunised children, we risk losing decades of progress.”