The World Health Organization warns that there has been a dramatic 300% increase in Measles cases since this time last year.
The Measles have seen a resurgence this year as the controversy over anti-vaccination movements continues. There has been a dramatic rise in cases of the debilitating illness, with 112,000 cases reported in 2019. According to an infographic posted on Twitter by the World Health Organization, this -- combined with the 28,000 cases from 2018 -- means that there are at least three times as many cases of the Measles as there were in years past.
"Preliminary global data on #measles shows that reported cases rose by 300 percent in the first three months of 2019, compared to the same period in 2018," the W.H.O. wrote. "This follows consecutive increases over the past two years."
Preliminary global data on #measles shows that reported cases rose by 300% in the first three months of 2019, compared to the same period in 2018. This follows consecutive increases over the past two years. https://t.co/fY27Rlzlqw #VaccinesWork pic.twitter.com/oImdYl4L9G— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) April 15, 2019
The organization included the hashtag "vaccines work" in their post, directly opposing the "anti-vaxxer" movement that is growing in popularity. In consecutive tweets, the W.H.O. pointed out that the major outbreaks are spread across various countries, hitting "clusters of unvaccinated people" in places with otherwise "high overall vaccination coverage," including the U.S. In spite of the availability of vaccines, the Measles reportedly caused nearly 110,000 deaths in 2017.
"For several years global #measles coverage with the first dose of the vaccine has stalled at 85 percent," the organization went on. "This is high but still short of the 95 percent needed to prevent outbreaks. Second dose coverage, while increasing, stands at 67 percent."
The organization further pointed out that there are many people who cannot afford and access the vaccine, and that establishing immunity in more of the population can help them. It also pointed out that even in high-income communities with excellent medical care, a Measles outbreak can cause permanent damage to a child.
Responding to #measles requires a range of approaches to ensure all children get their vaccines on time, with particular attention to access, quality and the affordability of #PrimaryHealthCare. https://t.co/fY27Rlzlqw #VaccinesWork #HealthForAll pic.twitter.com/NzVNvPvBNZ— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) April 16, 2019
"I just wish the U.S. or the W.H.O. could come up with some way to prevent people from getting the measles," responded one Twitter user wryly. "Like some sort of shot that could prevent people from getting the disease..."
"This is why you need to vaccinate your kids," wrote another. "Herd immunity is failing and people who are immunocompromised and can't get vaccinated are the ones who are hurting."
The anti-vaccination movement has found growing relevance online, where many parents have become convinced that common vaccines can contribute to autism, auto-immune disease and other long-term afflictions. Organizations like the W.H.O. and other scientific communities have taken pains to disprove these notions, and in the meantime to also stress the immediate threat of weakening immunity. Other organizations like Voices For Vaccines are rising in prominence, helping to educate anti-vaxxers and share the stories of those who have changed their minds.