Measles cases rose nearly four-fold in first quarter 2019: WHO
GENEVA (Reuters) - The number of measles cases worldwide nearly quadrupled in the first quarter of 2019 to 112,163 against the same period last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday, citing provisional data. Higher rates of the preventable but contagious disease - which can kill a child or leave it blind, deaf or brain-damaged - have been recorded in all regions, the United Nations agency said in a statement, appealing for better vaccination coverage
GENEVA (Reuters) - The number of measles cases worldwide nearly quadrupled in the first quarter of 2019 to 112,163 against the same period last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday, citing provisional data.
Higher rates of the preventable but contagious disease - which can kill a child or leave it blind, deaf or brain-damaged - have been recorded in all regions, the United Nations agency said in a statement, appealing for better vaccination coverage.
Fresh outbreaks have hit the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Myanmar, the Philippines, Sudan, Thailand and Ukraine, "causing many deaths - mostly among young children", the WHO said.
It gave no figures for fatalities but noted it estimates that only one in 10 cases is reported globally.
"Over recent months, spikes in case numbers have also occurred in countries with high overall vaccination coverage, including the United States of America as well as Israel, Thailand, and Tunisia, as the disease has spread fast among clusters of unvaccinated people," the WHO statement said.
U.S. federal health officials said on Monday the number of confirmed cases of measles in the United States this year jumped by nearly 20 percent in the week ended April 11 - the country's second-worst outbreak in nearly two decades.
A growing and vocal fringe of parents in the United States oppose measles vaccines in the belief, contrary to scientific evidence, that ingredients in the vaccines can cause autism or other disorders.
Increasing vaccination coverage maximises a population's protection, the WHO said. Global coverage with the first dose has "stalled" at 85 percent, against 95 percent needed to prevent outbreaks, while 25 countries still do not include a second dose in their national programmes, it said.
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.