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Measles cases and deaths are increasing worldwide, warn health agencies

BMJ 2020; 371 doi: (Published 16 November 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m4450
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. New York, USA

Measles cases and deaths surged worldwide last year to the highest number of cases in 23 years, says a report from the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).1

Covid-19 has disrupted vaccine coverage in many countries and may lead to a further increase in cases and deaths from measles and other vaccine preventable diseases.

Measles cases declined globally from 2010 to 2016 but have increased since then. In 2019 there were 869 770 cases of measles, the highest number since 1996, and an estimated 207 500 deaths, a 50% increase since 2016. The report called the numbers “a significant step backward.”

“We know how to prevent measles outbreaks and deaths,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director general. “These …

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