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Measles are spreading rapidly – you should know

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The fight against measles actually seemed to be won. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nationwide vaccinations have almost wiped out the disease. But now the organization is alarming – the pathogens are back.

As the WHO stresses, one of the main reasons for the disease's re-emergence is, above all, the ever-decreasing vaccination culture. While prevention of measles is very easy and cheap, more and more people are abandoning the vaccine.

This affects not only poorer countries, but also Western industrialized countries, including Germany.

What exactly are measles?

Measles are a viral disease that can be transmitted extremely quickly. For example, the viruses can remain active for two hours after coughing or sneezing, so that the spread of the infection can sometimes be faster than with flu.

>>> More about: Brandenburg decides to measles vaccination for day-care and nursery <<<

Particular danger is also that the symptoms do not show immediately. So you can be contagious before you even feel the symptoms of your own disease.

Symptoms include high fever and later red rash. Life-threatening complications such as pneumonia or meningitis can occur in persons who are already immune-deficient, such as infants or seniors.

Health authorities urgently call for vaccination from the age of twelve months. It's not just about personal protection, it's also about immunizing the entire population. A vaccination rate of 95 percent is desirable. It makes an infection unlikely even by people who can not be vaccinated for health reasons.

How do the numbers of sufferers develop?

The WHO and the United Nations Children's Fund Unicef ​​have made headlines on the issue of measles because last year alone, organizations registered an increase in the number of reported infections by 50% compared to 2017. The largest increase from 30,000 to 53,000 cases was recorded by the Ukraine. In 2019, this trend continued there – in the first two months of the year alone, 24,000 new cases are reported to have been reported in this country. Worldwide, 136,000 people died of measles last year.

What contributes to the spread of the disease?

According to WHO, the declining vaccination culture is contributing significantly to the spread of the disease. Vaccinate skeptics would erroneously rely on research by British scientist Andrew Wakefield, who claimed to have a link between childhood measles vaccination and autism.

However, it has long since been confirmed that he had manipulated and falsified his research. In addition, the thesis has been refuted by a study with more than 650,000 children and further investigations long ago. Nevertheless, the rumor persist.

In some cases, religious motives would also be cited.

For example, ultra-Orthodox Jews were particularly affected by the recent massive measles outbreak in the US state of New York – apparently because they had refused to be vaccinated for religious reasons.

"Measles may be the disease, but all too often the real infection is misinformation, mistrust and indifference," Unicunt leader Henrietta Fore said in March in connection with the vaccine skepticism.

The huge mobility of people today would also help measles spread quickly across the globe.

No access to measles vaccine in poor countries

In poorer countries, on the other hand, another problem would prevail. Although people would like to get vaccinated, they would not have access to it.

>>> More about: After a new wave of measles: Sputnik readers demand general vaccination <<<

For example, between September 2018 and February 2019, about 77,000 people fell ill in the poor East African island state of Madagascar for these reasons.

A measles epidemic has also broken out in Yemen – fueled by catastrophic humanitarian conditions caused by the war.

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