LThe number of measles cases worldwide increased by 79% in the first two months of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. This is the staggering observation from WHO and UNICEF, who say they fear a major measles outbreak this year.
In a joint statement published on April 27, the two UN organizations clarified this In January and February 2022, 17,338 measles cases were registered worldwide, compared to 9,665 in the first two months of the previous year, leading to an increased risk of spreading vaccine-preventable diseases, according to the same source.
As a potentially fatal disease, measles poses a significant threat, particularly to children under the age of five. By weakening the immune system, the measles virus can cause complications in some cases, causing inflammation of the brain or even pneumonia.
Measles is also an extremely contagious viral disease. For this reason, vaccination remains the only safe and effective way to combat the epidemic. Immunizing against three infections at the same time, namely measles, mumps and rubella, the two-dose MMR vaccine offers protection for several decades.
In fact, according to said international organizations, the current explosion in measles cases is due to the disruption of health systems related to the pandemic around the world, which has led to an extraordinary widening of inequalities in access to vaccines.
At the national level, Dr. Infovac-Morocco president and pediatrician Moulay Said Afif said the kingdom is not among the countries hit by this outbreak of cases thanks to the national measles eradication strategy. “During confinement, the Moroccan Pediatric Association, in collaboration with the regional pediatric associations in Morocco, raised the alarm about the suspension of measles vaccination, after which the vaccination coverage fell from 95% to 63% in one month. We then launched an awareness campaign to ensure that measles vaccination continues despite restrictions to contain the spread of Covid-19,” he said.
“Thanks to catch-up campaigns, the vaccination coverage has increased from 63% to 93%. Remember, organizing the national measles and rubella campaign in 2013 enabled more than 10 million children between the ages of 9 and 19 to get their vaccine. As a result, Morocco is currently registering very few measles cases,” concludes Dr. Afif.
Of meryem Have Ouaanna