News about the incidence of measles occur almost daily and resemble the reports of combat. The main provider of information is the World Health Organization (WHO).
In the Philippines, 12,000 people became ill as a result of the epidemic, at least 203 died.
Since October 2018, nearly 69,000 infections have been registered in Madagascar. More than 550 people died, about 300 others could be associated with the disease.
In Europe in 2018, three times more people were infected with measles than in 2017 and 15 times more than in 2016 – more than 82,000 people in 47 countries, out of a total of 53. Died 72.
The difficult situation in Ukraine: last year, more than 53 thousand cases, 16 fatal cases were officially registered. And the situation continues to deteriorate rapidly. According to official data, from December 28 to February 22, that is, in less than two months, more than 24,000 people became ill and nine died. However, the authorities are firmly in a position not to declare an epidemic in the country.
It is our neighbor to the southwest that the West blames for the spread of the disease. "As a result of the outbreak of measles in Ukraine, the number of cases in Europe has tripled" – an article under this title was recently published in the world's most popular publication of science, Science.
Poles are sounding the alarm because of the geographical proximity of Ukraine. By 2018, 339 people fell ill, most in November and December. Since January, 380 cases have been registered, meaning the result of the whole of last year was covered in two months.
Russia recently donated 100,000 measles vaccines to Belarus, where the situation is quite satisfactory, but the republic is also at risk because of its proximity to Ukraine.
Also among the "leaders" of the continent are Serbia (5,076 cases), France (2,913) and Italy (2,517).
In Russia, the incidence is several times lower: 17.3 cases per 1 million inhabitants. For comparison: in France this figure is 44.7, in Greece – 196.8, in Montenegro – 322.6, in Georgia – 563.8 and only appalling 1209.25 cases per million in Ukraine.
However, last year 2 256 people fell ill with measles in Russia and in 2017, 725, a 3.5 fold increase. Currently, outbreaks of measles have been reported in Novosibirsk (52 cases) and Yekaterinburg (35). In the region of Vladimir, where the Gypsy camp (25 children became ill), the situation was interrupted in January. There were also pockets in Moscow, St. Petersburg and various regions.
With regard to the causes of the global return of measles, the specialists are unanimous: to reduce the level of vaccination of the population. And if in the third world countries there are often not enough vaccines, then in the West over the past two decades, denial of vaccines for reasons of principle has become very popular. Someone thinks that there is simply no need for them, but the view on the danger of vaccinations that can cause serious harm to health is also common. The world has forgotten the times when measles was a major cause of child mortality. As a result, the WHO-approved level of 95% of the vaccinated population – as a safeguard against measles outbreaks and epidemics – is not being increasingly respected.
Again, the example of Ukraine is extremely indicative. Until the mid-2000s, the vaccination level was fully compliant with international standards, but the situation began to change.
In 2008, a national hearing received a case when an adolescent died the day after the vaccination. Public opinion blamed the incident for a supposedly shoddy and dangerous vaccine, which, as it turned out, came from UNICEF to Ukraine as part of humanitarian aid. As a result, parents began to massively refuse to vaccinate their children. This was complemented by numerous scandals around the offer, as a result of which Ukraine has barely been acquired for several years. As a result, in mid-2010, less than half of the children in the country were vaccinated, which, according to UN estimates, corresponds to the level of Somalia and Nigeria.
No wonder this has become the current global leadership in infections. The renewed vaccination campaign has yet to have a significant effect.
In its own way, it is ironic that the world is confronted with a large-scale return of measles by the time its complete elimination is planned. This was the goal set by WHO by 2020, in line with the Global Plan of Action for Vaccines.
In any case, the reaction of States to this challenge demonstrates the level of their effectiveness. And we are talking about every aspect of the problem – from the coverage of population vaccination to the detection and elimination of the resulting focus.
Russia, in this case, obviously performs impressively, and state and non-state structures operate smoothly: isolating the patient, monitoring the state of contact with them, quarantining of infection sites, deadlines for unvaccinated patients and so on .
However, this is the case when you do not need to rejoice. Because the main fight is for the minds of people – and here, unfortunately, the results are not so impressive. The Novosibirsk Regional Ministry of Health reported that of the 700 people who had contact with the patients, 400 categorically refused the vaccines.
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