WHO Reports 30 per cent Measles Cases In 2017

Measles cases spiked 30 percent in 2017, due entirely to poor vaccination rates, the World Health Organization reported Thursday.

More than 6.7 million people, mostly young children, caught measles in 2017, the WHO reported. And 110,000 died from the virus.

That’s way down from the half a million deaths in 2000, but the progress the world made toward eliminating measles through vaccines is being quickly reversed, the WHO said. It’s in part due to economic chaos in countries such as Venezuela or conflict and unrest in countries including Pakistan and Nigeria. But in other countries, such as Italy, anti-vaccine sentiment means more kids are going unvaccinated.

“The resurgence of measles is of serious concern, with extended outbreaks occurring across regions, and particularly in countries that had achieved, or were close to achieving measles elimination,” said Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, deputy director general for programs at WHO. “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.”

Vaccines have prevented 21 million deaths from measles since 2000, WHO said. But global vaccination rates for measles are just 85 percent on average. Only 67 percent of the world population has received the second needed dose of MMR. To stop transmission of the highly contagious virus, 95 percent of a population needs to be vaccinated, WHO said.

Measles is just the first wave of disease that shows up when kids are not vaccinated, said Dr. Peter Hotez, a pediatrician and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine.

“I call measles a great biomarker of vaccine coverage because it is one of the most highly contagious viruses that we know about,” Hotez told NBC News.

“If a single person gets measles, 12 to 18 other people get it, typically babies too young to be vaccinated,” Hotez said.

“The first pop-up disease you see is measles because it is so contagious. Measles is the harbinger of things to come.”

WHO is already seeing high rates of measles infections in 2018. In August, WHO reported 41,000 measles cases in Europe alone, making this year the worst year in a decade for measles in Europe.

“The increase in measles cases is deeply concerning, but not surprising,” said Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “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,” Berkley said in a statement.

“Existing strategies need to change: more effort needs to go into increasing routine immunization coverage and strengthening health systems. Otherwise we will continue chasing one outbreak after another.”

Babies should get a measles, mumps and rubella vaccine as a routine immunization, but the WHO estimated that 21 million infants did not get their shots in 2017. Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Indonesia and Ethiopia had the most unimmunized infants.

Measles can cause a range of symptoms, including fever and a characteristic rash. It can also lead to pneumonia and encephalitis, which can kill. Children who survive severe bouts of measles can become blind or partly paralyzed.

In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 220 cases of measles so far, making 2018 one of the worst years in a decade. “A total of 15 outbreaks (defined as three or more linked cases) have been reported so far in 2018,” the CDC said.

Travelers often bring measles back with them, and in certain spots around the country, low vaccination rates make for good tinder for the virus to take hold and spread.

“This is a self-inflicted wound,” said Hotez, who has written a book about the anti-vaccine movement entitled “Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel’s Autism.”

“I have been trying to make the point now that the anti-vaccine movement is starting to inflict real public health damage. It’s taken a few years,” Hotez added.

“This should be a wake-up call that the anti-vaccine movement is not a fringe movement. It is a well-organized public health destruction machine.”

In the most comprehensive estimate of measles trends that covers the last 17 years of data, health groups said today that illness reports surged in 2017, reflecting severe and long outbreaks in many countries, along with gaps in vaccine coverage.

Outbreaks touched all regions of the world, and researchers estimated that measles caused about 110,000 deaths in 2017.

In the United States this year, Kansas City, Mo., reported two measles clusters, and parts of New Jersey and New York are currently experiencing measles outbreaks linked to people infected during overseas travel.

Researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) published their findings today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report and the WHO Weekly Epidemiological Record.

In a statement today, Soumya Swaminathan, MBBS, MD, deputy director-general for programs at the WHO said measles resurgence is concerning, especially in countries that had achieved or were close to achieving measles elimination.

“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,” she said.

Vaccines saved an estimated 21 million

Using updated modeling data, the group estimates that since 2000, measles immunization has saved more than 21 million lives. However, since 2016, illness reports have increased by more than 30%.

Regions that experienced the greatest spikes in 2017 include the Americas, the Eastern Mediterranean region, and Europe. The only WHO region in which measles cases dropped was the Western Pacific.

As of July, measles has become endemic again in Venezuela, sparking imported cases and outbreaks in bordering countries. The report also says measles resurgence in Europe has probably reestablished endemic transmission in some of the region’s countries.

“These outbreaks highlight the fragility of gains made toward global and regional measles elimination goals,” the group wrote.

According to the report, global coverage for the first of two measles doses has stalled at 85%, which the authors say is far short of the 95% level needed to prevent outbreaks. Second-dose coverage is much lower at 67%.

Complacency, vaccine misinformation fuel increase

Seth Berkley, MD, chief executive officer of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, said in the WHO statement that the increase is deeply concerning but not surprising. He said complacency, the spread of falsehoods about the vaccine in Europe, Venezuela’s collapsing health system, and pockets of fragility and low vaccine coverage in Africa have combined to trigger a global resurgence after years of progress.

“Existing strategies need to change: more effort needs to go into increasing routine immunization coverage and strengthening health systems. Otherwise we will continue chasing one outbreak after another,” he said.

In their report, the authors call for investments in immunization systems combined with efforts to strengthen routine immunization, especially targeting the poorest, most marginalized communities, including those struggling with conflict and displacement.

They also said actions to bring down measles levels need to address misinformation and hesitancy about vaccines.

Reference

WHO Reports 30 per cent Measles Cases In 2017

Measles spike triggered by vaccination gaps

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5 Health Benefits Of Zumba You Probably Don’t Know!

If you’re currently living a non-hermit life in the modern world, Zumba may be on your vocabulary list.

Many people have sworn by zumba as their number one weight loss secret. It’s also extremely popular because it’s so much fun!

In addition to the fun factor, zumba has several health benefits to it.

You may want to add it to your exercise routine even if you’re not overweight. Read on below to make yourself aware of zumba’s advantages!

Health Benefits Of Zumba:

  1. Sheds Those Calories

The main reason why most people take up zumba is that they want to lose weight. This is a great decision since zumba combines cardio with aerobics. It even offers resistance training and boosts your metabolism. This means that you can even eat a little more than usual since the calories are burning so fast!

On average, one hour of zumba can burn 300-600 calories. This would depend on the sort of body type undergoing the exercise. It would also depend on the age, gender, and intensity of the workout.

  1. Enhances Endurance

The crux of all zumba sessions is the continuous movement. This can be quite difficult, but you’re not going to get anywhere without it! Conventional strength training has several cooling down, warming up, and break periods. However, an hour of zumba literally means an hour.

The continuous moving makes your body flexible and accustomed to exercise. This would enable you to enjoy working out much faster. You may even find it easier and easier to complete the whole hour than you did at first.

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  1. Carry Yourself Well

Zumba has moves, but not like conventional workouts do. It is actually a combination of several kinds of exercises. These include meringue, samba, salsa, and mambo. Some of these are more dances than exercise, but that is the beauty of zumba.

Combining all these movements means that are your muscles are worked out nicely. Plus, there would be some unique muscle groups under training which you may not reach with a traditional exercise routine. This would allow for unusual movements, stretches, and movement.

What all this accomplishes is a relaxing of the tension within the body. It would hence also enhance your flexibility and posture. Soon, no one would be telling you to sit up straight and not slouch. You would already be carrying yourself with an air of grace and poise. This would help you out when you’re dancing in a social setting, or create an impressive air when meeting new people.

  1. Increases Confidence

It may surprise some to know this, but regular zumba sessions can actually help you to improve your social life. If you’re disposed towards shyness and awkwardness, zumba can help you become more outgoing.

This is mainly because zumba helps you to improve your dance moves. Moreover, zumba is usually held within an informal setting. This can be a fun experience and help you get to know the people you’re with. Hopefully, this would also help in getting you back for another session and eventually the whole program.

  1. Relieves Stress

The modern world offers us many conveniences, no doubt. However, more and more people seem to get increasingly frazzled by life. Along with the ease, there are a lot of responsibilities that could turn our hairs gray before their time.

Zumba is an amazing way to get rid of the extra stress and tension piling up inside you. While other kinds of exercise could make you even more frustrated, zumba doesn’t have any element of competition.

It’s not about how much weight you can lift or how many miles you can walk. In fact, zumba causes several endorphins and neurotransmitters to traverse through your body. It thereby improves your mood and does away with stress hormones and their debilitating effect.

Wrap-Up…

Zumba is one of the most popular exercise crazes in recent years, and with good reason! It’s fun, healthy, and keeps your body in top shape. You should ask your local gym if they offer any zumba classes. If you don’t have that option, you can try out a few videos online to see if it’s a good fit for you. In any case, it is surely worth a shot!