WHO reports that global progress against measles threatened amidst COVID-19 pandemic

16 November 2021

Article: 55/4604

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have published a joint report on progress towards worldwide measles elimination. The report finds that while recorded measles cases have fallen compared to previous years, progress towards measles elimination continues to decline and the potential risk of outbreaks is mounting. During 2020, more than 22 million infants missed their first dose of measles vaccine, three million more than in 2019, marking the largest increase in two decades. Major measles outbreaks occurred in 26 countries and accounted for 84% of all reported cases in 2020.

The WHO and CDC report that compared with the previous year, reported measles cases decreased by more than 80% in 2020. However, during this period measles surveillance also deteriorated, with the lowest number of specimens sent for laboratory testing in over a decade. Weak measles monitoring, testing, and reporting has the potential to risk the ability of countries to prevent outbreaks of measles.

Source: WHO, 10 November 2021