WHO: Three times more measles cases reported than last year
Three times as many measles cases have been reported this year than last, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Thursday, blaming the increase, in part, on the spread of misinformation.
WHO officials said at a news briefing that every region in the world — other than the Americas — is experiencing an increase in measles cases, despite a vaccine that can prevent the sometimes fatal disease, Reuters reports.
In the U.S., health officials reportedly said 1,215 measles cases have been recorded across 30 states — making it the worst outbreak since 1992.
“We are backsliding, we are on the wrong track,” Kate O’Brien, director of WHO’s department of immunization, vaccines and biologicals, said at the briefing, according to Reuters. “We have a worrying trend that all regions are experiencing an increase in measles except for the region of the Americas, which has seen a small decline.”
Nearly 365,000 measles cases have been reported globally this year, which, according to WHO, is the highest figure since 2006. It’s just a portion of the 6.7 million suspected cases, the organization noted.
O’Brien also called on social media outlets to make sure accurate information is being spread about preventing measles.
Social media site Pinterest earlier this week announced it would provide users with “reliable results about immunizations” within searches about measles, vaccine safety and other health and medical terms. Pinterest said it will source health information from WHO, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the WHO-established Vaccine Safety Net.