WHO and UNICEF warn of surge in measles cases in Europe

WHO and UNICEF warn of surge in measles cases in Europe
WHO and UNICEF warn of surge in measles cases in Europe

AA / Tunis / Fatma Ben Amor

Measles cases are still rising sharply in the European Region, and the number of cases recorded this year will soon exceed the total number of cases reported in 2023, WHO and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have warned ) in a joint press release made public this Tuesday.

“According to the latest available statistics, the total number of measles cases officially reported for 45 of the 53 countries in the WHO European Region during the first 3 months of 2024 is 56,634, with 4 deaths. By the year 2023, a total of 61,070 cases and 13 deaths had been reported by 41 countries,” reads the statement seen by Anadolu.

And to specify: “More than half of the people who contracted measles in the Region in 2023 were hospitalized, proof of the heavy burden weighing on individuals, families and health care systems”.

In almost half of the cases reported in 2023, “these were children under 5 years old, a sign that the number of children who have not been vaccinated against measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases increased during the COVID-19 pandemic and that the recovery of vaccination coverage was slow in 2021 and 2022,” notes the same Source.

Worldwide, the number of measles cases is increasing, report the WHO and UNICEF. “In 2023, more than 300,000 cases of measles have been recorded worldwide, and the figures reported so far in 2024 indicate that the year’s total will be equal to or higher than that of 2023. Imports of the virus “across countries and continents occur regularly, and outbreaks of this highly infectious disease will occur wherever the virus finds outbreaks of unvaccinated people or those who have not received all the vaccines”, indicate the two UN agencies.

Measles is a highly contagious disease, most common in children, caused by a virus that spreads easily when an infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes and can lead to serious illness, complications or death. The virus infects the respiratory system and then spreads throughout the body. Symptoms include high fever, cough, runny nose, and rash all over the body.

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