Thu. Jul 25th, 2024

WHO reports 79 percent increase in measles cases worldwide

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The World Health Organization is warning that measles is spreading quickly around the world.

WHO reports a 79 percent increase in cases in 2022 and the number of deaths increased by 43 percent.

The agency expects an increase in deaths from measles last year as well, with more than 306,000 cases reported.

The disease causes a rash as well as other typical signs of illness such as coughing, sneezing, and a runny nose.

Luckily from 2020 to 2022 there have been no cases of measles reported in Tennessee, but just last month a case was confirmed to have traveled through the Northern Kentucky International Airport.

An elementary school in Florida is on high alert now as four cases of measles have been confirmed there.

The measles were declared eradicated more than 20 years ago in the U.S.

Health experts believe declining vaccination rates is jeopardizing herd immunity and causing the spike in cases. Herd immunity requires 98 percent of the population to be vaccinated against the disease.

This is concerning because the measles is one of the most quickly and easily transmitted diseases.

“If I had measles and I coughed and it’s now in the air, it can stay in the air for like 30 minutes,” said Senior Medical Director of Infection Prevention at UC Health, Dr. Michelle Barron. “So you come along in the grocery line after I do, you’re not vaccinated, and then the measles is still hanging out in the air, 30 minutes, an hour later. And then you breathe it in and can get it. And so the number of people for the attack rate can be much higher than most of the things we’re used to where you’ve got to be with someone.”

The CDC recommends children get their first dose of the vaccine between 12 to 15 months old.

The vaccine is available at the Lentz Public Health Center in Nashville on Charlotte Ave. weekdays from 7:30 to 4.

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