WHO: Measles Outbreaks Continue to Spread Across Europe, Africa and the Americas

The U.N. World Health Organization has warned that large measles outbreaks continue to spread across Europe, Africa and the Americas, killing more than a thousand in Africa and 11 in Europe.

The highly infectious disease, which can cause complications and deaths even in previously healthy individuals, remains one of the main causes of deaths among young children.

But the disease is fully preventable by vaccination.

In April, European Immunization Week kicked off in 50 countries, the largest number of participants since the initiative began.

More than 26,000 measles cases have been reported in 40 countries in Europe since January. Of the 11 fatalities reported, the majority were in France, which has the biggest number of measles cases in Europe at 14,025. The French government has begun to offer vaccines in schools for free. Other European countries have also increased access to and availability of the vaccines.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Republic of the Congo accounts for the most number of measles cases in Africa, with more than 103,000 cases and some 1,100 measles-related deaths this year, the WHO estimates. Thousands of measles cases were also reported in Nigeria, Zambia and Ethiopia.

In the Americas, Canada has the most number of measles cases at 742, but none were fatal. Other countries that presented outbreaks include the United States, Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Chile.

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About the author

  • Che

    Che de los Reyes

    As a senior staff writer, Che focuses on international development breaking news coverage as well as interviews and features. Prior to joining Devex, Che handled communications for local and international development NGOs and government institutions in the Philippines.