Measles outbreaks

This item appears on page 19 of the April 2019 issue.

Since Jan. 1, 2019, more than 11,000 people, mostly children, have contracted measles in the Philippines, largely in the capital, Manila, and at least 189 people have died from the disease. Officials blame vaccine fears for reducing the number of inoculated children in the country. Officials hope a vaccine drive, focused on Manila, will end the outbreak by April.

Worldwide, cases of measles are increasing. The disease is easily spread via droplets of saliva suspended in the air due to coughing, and these can be present even hours after the infected individual has left the area. According to the World Health Organization, the number of cases in Europe in 2018 was triple the number in 2017. The highest number of cases in Europe was in Ukraine, where an ongoing civil war has hindered vaccination efforts.