New data from the World Health Organization (WHO) show the number of measles cases reported globally so far in 2019 is three times higher than that at the same time last year.
According to the latest preliminary reports provided to the WHO as of August 2019, reported measles cases in the first six months of 2019 were the highest since 2006. This follows successive yearly increases since 2016, which the WHO says indicate “a concerning and continuing upsurge in the overall measles burden worldwide”.
The provisional data show 182 countries reported 364,808 measles cases to the WHO between January 1 and July 31, 2019, although the WHO stresses that the data are incomplete and figures could be much higher. For this same period last year, 129,239 measles cases were reported from 181 countries.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar and Ukraine have reported the highest numbers of cases this year. The United States has reported its highest measles case count in 25 years, while in the WHO European region, almost 90,000 cases were reported for the first six months of this year, an increase in the figure recorded for the whole of 2018 (n=84,462).