There is no scientific link between vaccines and autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Experts say that people who skip vaccination — due to vaccine fearmongering, poor health systems and laziness — are to blame.
Over 6.7 million people contracted the measles in 2017, with 110,000 dying of the virus, WHO said in their report, released with the Centers for Disease Control. Most of the infected people were children.
Multiple countries experienced “severe and protracted outbreaks” of measles, with North and South America, Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean seeing the biggest increase in cases. Experts found this particularly concerning because many of these places were areas where measles has been considered eradicated thanks to the vaccine.
“The resurgence of measles is of serious concern, with extended outbreaks occurring across regions, and particularly in countries that had achieved, or were close to achieving measles elimination,” Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, deputy director general for Programmes at WHO, said in a statement. “Without urgent efforts to increase vaccination coverage and identify populations with unacceptable levels of under-, or unimmunized children, we risk losing decades of progress in protecting children and communities against this devastating, but entirely preventable disease.”
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The measles vaccine has prevented 21 million deaths since 2000, WHO said, but recent, unnecessary fear of the vaccine has lowered the vaccination rate in the last year. The global vaccination rate is 85 percent for the first dose, and just 67 percent for the second dose, which is necessary to full prevent the virus. The goal is for 95 percent vaccination.
There is no scientific link between vaccines and autism, according to the CDC.
Measles outbreaks typically occur in areas where people are unvaccinated. In the U.S., recent local outbreaks of the virus happen when people travel abroad to areas with measles and return to unvaccinated regions.
“The increase in measles cases is deeply concerning, but not surprising,” Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, said in a statement. “Complacency about the disease and the spread of falsehoods about the vaccine in Europe, a collapsing health system in Venezuela and pockets of fragility and low immunization coverage in Africa are combining to bring about a global resurgence of measles after years of progress.
“Existing strategies need to change: more effort needs to go into increasing routine immunization coverage and strengthening health systems. Otherwise we will continue chasing one outbreak after another.”