Elderly man diagnosed with measles in Pinellas County


The body said every year, more than 30 million children younger than 5 years in Africa fall sick due to vaccine-preventable diseases.

UNICEF reported around 169 million children did not receive the first part of the inoculation- which comes in two phases- between 2010 and 2017.

The first three months of 2019 saw an increase in measles cases by nearly 300%.

Next among the high-income countries came France and Britain, with more than 600,000 and 500,000 unvaccinated children, respectively, during the 2010-2017 period. And 22 countries in sub-Saharan African have not yet introduced the essential second dose.

Worldwide coverage levels of the second dose of the measles vaccines are even more alarming.

The measles virus will always find unvaccinated children.

It's been described by the NHS chief as a "public health timebomb".

He called on social media firms such as Facebook and Instagram to do more to block fake news stories and scaremongering about vaccines.

The number of cases of measles in England has nearly quadrupled in the past year, leading the head of the health service to issue a warning about the growing number of parents refusing to vaccinate their children. Two doses of MMR vaccine (at 12 months and when your child is in Junior Infants) are required to be fully protected.

UNICEF cited lack of access to medicine, poor health systems, complacency and, "in some cases, fear or scepticism about vaccines" for the fact that global uptake of the first dose of the measles vaccine has stayed constant at around 85% for a decade. The World Health Organization recommends a threshold of 95 per cent immunization coverage to achieve so-called "herd immunity".

In poorer countries, however, the situation is "critical", UNICEF's report found. Nigeria in 2017, for example, had the highest number of children under one year who missed out on the first dose, at almost 4 million.

A list of 10 high-income countries shows the USA has the highest number of children (2.6 million) missing out on their first dose of the vaccine, followed by France with 608,000 unvaccinated children over the same time period and then the United Kingdom, with 527,000. It was followed by India (2.9 million), Pakistan and Indonesia (1.2 million each), and Ethiopia (1.1 million). "If we are serious about averting the spread of this unsafe but preventable disease, we need to vaccinate every child, in rich and poor countries alike", said Henrietta Fore, executive director, UNICEF. While measles vaccine given to unvaccinated persons within 72 hours of exposure can prevent disease, it is still appropriate for any unvaccinated person to receive MMR regardless of time of exposure.

"Measles is far too contagious", Fore said.

According to Health Canada, there have 39 confirmed cases of the measles in Canada this year, with reports in British Columbia, Quebec, the Northwest Territories, Ontario and Alberta.

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