300% more than in 2018: measles continues to grow and no region in the world is spared from the epidemic

112,163. That is the number of measles cases that have been reported to the WHO during the first quarter of the year. During the past year, in the same three months of the year, only 28,124 patients had been counted. That is, measles, a disease that a handful of years ago was in clear remission, has grown by 300%.

I insist, 300%. Countries with huge spikes in measles number in the tens (170 this year compared to 163 the previous year) and there is no region in the world that does not suffer from a sustained increase in the disease. At this point, I am fully convinced that the history of the return of measles will go down in the history books as one of the most incomprehensible things in global health today.

The preventable return of measles

It grows in all regions, although not equally. Africa takes the palm and is the most affected region, with an increase of 700% in the first three months of the year. Europe appears in second position (with growths of 300%) followed by the eastern Mediterranean (100%), America (60%) and the region of Southeast Asia and the western Pacific (40%).

If we zoom in a bit, according to WHO data, countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Burma, the Philippines, Sudan, Thailand and Ukraine lead the statistics of the problem. Although, of course, we are talking about a very serious epidemic that goes beyond the rankings and is causing "numerous deaths, mainly among younger children."

One of every ten. Above all, because as the WHO itself recognizes, they estimate that these data only collect ten percent of the real cases that exist in the world. In other words, the epidemic is much bigger, deeper and more serious.

Return. We must not forget that until a handful of years ago, 2016, the measles figures had been decreasing year by year. It was then that the erosion of health systems due to the international crisis, civil wars, inequality and anti-vaccine movements reversed the trend.

That is to say, and I will not tire of insisting on this, the growth of all these infectious diseases that we had managed to almost eradicate is not something natural, but something deeply rooted in the shady areas (social, political and economic) that the governments of half the world; It doesn't matter if they are industrialized or not. In other words, it is a problem that has a solution.

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