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World Facing Devastating and Deadly Comeback of Measles Virus

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Unvaccinated young children are at highest risk of measles and its complications, including death, according to WHO.

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Measles is staging a devastating comeback in epidemics globally according to the (WHO)World Health Organization. The measles virus exploits dangerous gaps in vaccination coverage, World Health Organization (WHO) experts said on Friday.

Kate O’Brien, the WHO’s health director, said the world “is facing an alarming upsurge in measles cases in all regions.”  “The impact of these outbreaks is really devastating,” she said. “Its not only causing  widespread loss of life, but also preventable disabilities. Affecting family livelihoods and national economies, and straining healthcare systems.”

Latest WHO global data show that reported cases of measles.  Which is one of the world’s most contagious diseases – rose by 300 percent globally in the first three months of this year. This follows consecutive increases over the past two years.

There is no specific antiviral treatment for measles, however it can be prevented with two doses of vaccine. The vast majority of cases of infection are in unvaccinated or under-vaccinated people.

Outbreaks of the disease are causing tens of thousands of infections and thousands of deaths in; the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, the Philippines, Sudan, Thailand and Ukraine, among other countries.

Experts say such outbreaks were clear indications of critical gaps in vaccination coverage and urged authorities to do more to raise rates of immunization.

In Thailand health officials have reported a total of 4,648 measles cases from 74 provinces through Sept. 15.–Including 539 cases with complications and 14 deaths.

Narathiwat province has seen the highest incidence followed by Pattani, Phetchaburi, Chiang Mai and Songkhla.

Measles is highly contagious, spreading through coughing and sneezing. Up to 90% of the people close to the infected person, who are not immune, will also become infected. Unvaccinated young children are at highest risk of measles and its complications, including death, according to WHO.