Measles cases jump 30% worldwide, WHO finds

More than 6.7 million people contracted measles in 2017, marking a 30 percent increase from the year prior, according to a Nov. 29 report from the World Health Organization.

Here are three things to know:

1. Of the 6.7 million measles cases confirmed last year, most occurred in young children and 110,000 patients died.

2. The mumps, measles and rubella vaccine has saved more than 21 million lives since 2000. However, health officials said gaps in vaccination coverage are quickly undoing this progress.

"The increase in measles cases is deeply concerning, but not surprising," Seth Berkley, MD, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, said in a press release. "Complacency about the disease and the spread of falsehoods about the vaccine in Europe, a collapsing health system in Venezuela, and pockets of fragility and low immunization coverage in Africa are combining to bring about a global resurgence of measles after years of progress."

3. Two doses of the MMR vaccine protect individuals from the measles. However, global vaccine compliance has lagged at 85 percent for the first dose and 67 percent for the second dose for several years, according to the WHO. Health officials said 95 percent vaccine coverage is required to help prevent outbreaks.

"Without urgent efforts to increase vaccination coverage and identify populations with unacceptable levels of under- or unimmunized children, we risk losing decades of progress in protecting children and communities against this devastating, but entirely preventable disease," Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, the WHO's deputy director general for programs, said in a press release.

More articles on clinical leadership and infection control:

UV disinfection linked to lower C. diff rates
Bedside flu diagnosis in pediatric ED reduced antibiotic treatment by 70%
Outpatients for influenzalike illness above national baseline: 5 things to know

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