Number of measles cases rocket amid warnings of poor vaccination rates

Doctor holds vaccine

Doctor holds vaccine

Higher rates of the preventable but contagious disease have been recorded in all regions, the United Nations agency said in a statement, appealing for better vaccination coverage.

USA federal health officials said on Monday the number of confirmed cases of measles in the United States this year jumped by almost 20% in the week ended 11 April - the country's second-worst outbreak in almost two decades. It is the worst outbreak seen in the city since 1991, the mayor said. We should not have active measles in the United States.

"By the time you finish reading this, we estimate that at least 40 people - a lot of them children - will be infected by this fast-moving, life-threatening disease", Henrietta Fore, executive director of UNICEF and Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, wrote in an opinion piece Monday on CNN.

The number of cases of measles rose by more than 300 per cent in the first three months of this year compared to the same period in 2018, according to new figures from the World Health Organization.

About 1 out of every 1,000 children who gets measles will develop encephalitis or swelling of the brain, according to the CDC. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the USA has been experiencing its second-worst measles outbreak since the highly contagious and unsafe disease was declared eliminated in 2000.

In 2000, measles was largely eradicated, having not been continually transmitted for a period of more than 12 months thanks to a highly effective vaccination program in the United States.

Global coverage for the second dose is only 67 per cent.

Five parents filed a lawsuit with the New York State court against the city's health department on Monday, requesting a halt to emergency orders requiring the measles vaccine on the grounds that it goes against their religious beliefs.

In January, WHO named the anti-vaccination movement among the top 10 global health threats for 2019. "This should not happen", said Dr. William Schaffner, medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and an adviser to the CDC on vaccines.

Smaller measles outbreaks are ongoing in New Jersey and California.

When pressed as to how many fines were issued, Barbot said she did not know at the time.

Another outbreak has hit Orthodox Jewish families in New York's Rockland County.