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Global surge in measles poses serious threat to children: UNICEF

News Desk

Kyodo News

Geneve  /  Sat, March 2, 2019  /  08:16 pm
Global surge in measles poses serious threat to children: UNICEF

An alarming global surge in measles cases poses a serious threat to children and more efforts are needed to improve vaccine coverage, according to the U.N. Children's Fund (Shutterstock/Jarun Ontakrai)

An alarming global surge in measles cases poses a serious threat to children and more efforts are needed to improve vaccine coverage, the U.N. Children's Fund said Friday.

Ten countries, including Ukraine, the Philippines and Brazil, account for nearly three-quarters of the total increase in measles cases in 2018, UNICEF said.

In Ukraine, there were 35,120 cases of measles during the year and another 24,042 people were infected in the first two months of this year, it said.

The Philippines has already seen 12,736 cases and 203 deaths this year, compared to 15,599 cases in the whole of 2018, it said.

Read also: Widening anti-vaccine movement paves way for measles

Measles is highly contagious and spreads through the air. There is no specific treatment for the disease, which has the potential to kill malnourished children and babies that are too young to be vaccinated.

Japan has been declared measles free by the World Health Organization but over 200 cases of infection have been reported this year. Medical experts say infection increased in line with a surge in foreign tourists.

"Poor health infrastructure, civil strife, low community awareness, complacency and vaccine hesitancy in some cases have led to these outbreaks in both developed and developing countries," UNICEF said.

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