UNICEF Highlights Global Increase In Measles Cases

From a March 1, 2019 press release,

NEW YORK, 1 March 2019 — UNICEF warned today that global cases of measles are surging to alarmingly high levels, led by ten countries accounting for more than 74 per cent of the total increase, and several others that had previously been declared measles free.

Globally, 98 countries reported more cases of measles in 2018 compared to 2017, eroding progress against this highly preventable, but potentially deadly disease.

Ukraine, the Philippines and Brazil saw the largest increases in measles cases from 2017 to 2018. In Ukraine alone, there were 35,120 cases of measles in 2018. According to the government, another 24,042 people were infected just in the first two months of 2019. In the Philippines so far this year, there have been 12,736 measles cases and 203 deaths, compared to 15,599 cases in the whole of 2018.

. . .

Poor health infrastructure, civil strife, low community awareness, complacency and vaccine hesitancy in some cases have led to these outbreaks in both developed and developing countries. For example, in the United States, the number of measles cases increased six-fold between 2017 and 2018, reaching 791 cases. More recently, the U.S. has seen outbreaks in New York and Washington state.

“Almost all of these cases are preventable, and yet children are getting infected even in places where there is simply no excuse,” said Fore. “Measles may be the disease, but, all too often, the real infection is misinformation, mistrust and complacency. We must do more to accurately inform every parent, to help us safely vaccinate every child.”

Dengue Fever Outbreak Hits Brazil

Brazil is in the grip of a full-blown outbreak of dengue fever with well over 400,000 cases reported and over 17 fatalities.

Dengue fever is a disease that usually causes severe headaches and muscle pains along with high fevers. Like malaria, it is usually transmitted by mosquito bites. Unusually heavy rains in parts of Brazil increased the number of mosquitos leading to the outbreak.

Efforts are underway to reduce the pools of stagnating water which the mosquito breed in, but there is still no end in sight to the disease outbreak.


One-in-ten in Rio has dengue. The BBC, February 26, 2002.

Dengue fever grips Rio. The BBC, February 27, 2002.