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Global measles rate increases sharply, WHO reports

According to the World Health Organization, 170 countries have reported 112,163 measles cases in 2019

GENEVA, April 15. /TASS/. The global measles rate has increased significantly in January-March 2019. In the first three months of 2019, there have been over 112,000 registered cases of measles compared to over 28,000 cases in the same period of last year, the report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva informs.

"Preliminary global data 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," the WHO informs, noting that the real number of measles cases might be significantly higher.

"To date, 2019 has seen 170 countries report 112,163 measles cases to WHO. As of this time last year, there were 28,124 measles cases from 163 countries," the organization states.

Measles outbreaks have been detected in several countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Myanmar, Philippines, Sudan, Thailand and Ukraine, causing many deaths, especially among children.

"Over recent months, spikes in case numbers have also occurred in countries with high overall vaccination coverage, including the United States of America as well as Israel, Thailand, and Tunisia, as the disease has spread fast among clusters of unvaccinated people," the report informs.

The WHO describes measles as "a highly contagious vaccine-preventable disease caused by the measles virus, a member of the genus Morbillivirus in the family paramyxoviridae." "It is spread by droplets or direct contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected persons. Measles is one of the most readily transmitted communicable diseases and probably the best known and most deadly of all childhood rash/fever illnesses," the organization said on its website.