A global increase in measles outbreaks is worrying medical professionals as the World Health Organization named ‘vaccine hesitancy’ as one of the top ten threats to world health in 2019.
In the United States, reported measles cases in the first few months of 2019 were higher than the total reported for all of 2017. In early January, Clark County in Washington state, where vaccination rates are historically low by American standards, declared a public health emergency in response to a measles outbreak. In March a second emergency was declared in Rockland County, New York.
Japan has been fighting to contain its worst outbreak of measles in a decade, while in the Philippines 14,000 cases were reported in the first months of 2019 against 15,000 for the whole of 2018. Brazil, Madagascar and Ukraine are also badly affected.