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News about measles comes almost daily and resembles combat reports. The main provider of information is the World Health Organization (WHO).

Measles vaccine.

                    Sputnik / Max Bogdanovich

Russian Embassy presents measles vaccine to Belarus

In the Philippines, 12,000 people fell ill as a result of the epidemic, at least 203 died.

Since October 2018, almost 69 thousand infections have been registered in Madagascar. More than 550 people died, another 300 deaths may be associated with the disease.

In Europe, in 2018, three times more people were infected with measles than in 2017, and 15 times – than in 2016 – over 82 thousand people in 47 out of 53 countries. 72 died.

The difficult situation in Ukraine: over the past year, more than 53 thousand cases, officially registered 16 deaths. Moreover, the situation continues to deteriorate rapidly. According to official figures, from December 28 to February 22, that is, in less than two months, more than 24 thousand people fell ill and nine died. However, the authorities are firmly on the position not to declare an epidemic in the country.

Measles becomes a disease that can affect everyone. What is important to know about the disease, ONF expert, director of the National Education Resources Foundation, Tatyana Polovkova, and immunologist-immunologist Vladimir Bolibok told the Sputnik radio.

Mobile clinic in the Chelyabinsk region

                    Sputnik / Alexander Kondratyuk
Two more measles cases reported in Belarus

It is Ukraine that the West blames for the spread of the disease. “As a result of an outbreak of measles in Ukraine, the number of cases in Europe has tripled” – an article under this heading was recently published in the most famous popular science publication in the world Science.

Poles are sounding the alarm due to the geographical proximity of Ukraine. In 2018, 339 people fell ill with them, most in November and December. Since January, 380 cases have already been recorded, that is, in two months the result of the whole of last year was blocked.

Russia recently donated 100 thousand measles vaccines to Belarus free of charge, where the situation is quite favorable, but the republic is also at risk because of its proximity to Ukraine.

Also among the "leaders" of the continent are Serbia (5076 cases), France (2913) and Italy (2517).

In Russia, the incidence is several times lower: 17.3 cases per 1 million population. For comparison: in France, this figure is 44.7, in Greece – 196.8, in Montenegro – 322.6, in Georgia – 563.8, and just the terrible 1209.25 cases per million in Ukraine.

Nevertheless, last year 2256 people got measles in Russia, and in 2017 – 725, an increase of 3.5 times. Outbreaks of measles are currently reported in Novosibirsk (52 cases) and Yekaterinburg (35). In the Vladimir region, where in January a gypsy camp became the focus (25 children fell ill), the situation was stopped. Foci also appeared in Moscow, St. Petersburg and a number of regions.

Nurse picks medicine into a syringe

                    Sputnik / Alexey Malgavko
Ukrainian authorities have announced a “special operation” to combat measles

Regarding the reasons for the global return of measles, experts are unanimous: reducing the level of vaccination of the population. Moreover, if in the third world countries there are often not enough vaccines, in the West over the past couple of decades, the rejection of vaccinations for reasons of principle has become very popular. Someone believes that they simply are no longer needed, but the point of view about the danger of vaccinations that can cause serious harm to health is also widespread. The world has forgotten about the times when measles was one of the main causes of child mortality. As a result, WHO’s 95 percent vaccinated population – as a safeguard against measles outbreaks and epidemics – is increasingly not being respected.

Again, an example of Ukraine is extremely indicative. Until the middle of the zero years, the vaccination level there fully corresponded to international standards, but then the situation began to change.

In 2008, the case when a teenager died the next day after vaccination received a national response. Public opinion blamed the allegedly low-quality and dangerous vaccine, which, as it turned out, got to Ukraine from UNICEF as part of humanitarian aid. As a result, parents began to massively refuse to vaccinate their children. This was supplemented by many scandals around supplies, as a result of which vaccines were practically not purchased by Ukraine for several years. As a result, by the mid-2010s, less than half of the children were vaccinated in the country, which, according to UN estimates, corresponds to the level of Somalia and Nigeria.

The work of a physician, archive photo

                    Sputnik / Nikolay Khizhnyak
Measles epidemic may be officially announced in Ukraine

Not surprisingly, this has turned into the current global leadership by contagion. The renewed vaccination campaign has not yet produced a significant effect.

In its own way, it’s ironic that the world was faced with a massive return of measles at a time when it was planned to be completely eradicated. This is precisely what WHO set for 2020 by the Global Vaccine Action Plan.

Be that as it may, the reaction of states to this challenge demonstrates their level of effectiveness. And we are talking about all aspects of the problem – from vaccination coverage of the population to the detection and stopping of the resulting outbreak.

Russia in this case, of course, shows impressive performance, with both state and non-state structures working smoothly: isolation of patients, monitoring the status of the contact points, quarantine of infection sites, time limits for unvaccinated people, and so on.

However, this is the case when you do not have to rejoice. Because the main struggle is for the minds of people – and here, unfortunately, the results are not too impressive. The Novosibirsk Regional Ministry of Health reported that out of 700 people who had contact with the sick, 400 categorically refused vaccinations.

Read also:

Ukrainian authorities have announced a “special operation” to combat measles

Refusal of vaccines is included in the list of 10 major health threats

Be careful! How to recognize measles

Chesnov: 80% of measles children were not vaccinated

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