The World Health Organization says cases of measles are continuing to spike globally, with multiple large outbreaks being reported across Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.
In an update on Wednesday, the U.N. health agency said Congo has reported more than 250,000 suspected cases this year, including 5,110 deaths.
A measles epidemic raging in Samoa has killed 37 people, WHO said Wednesday, blaming an anti-vaccine messaging campaign for leaving the Pacific island nation vulnerable to the spread of the virus.
In Europe, there have been more than 56,000 cases in Ukraine. Sizeable outbreaks have also been reported in Brazil, Bangladesh and elsewhere.
WHO noted that two large epidemics in New York are over but small outbreaks elsewhere in the U.S. continue.
As of Nov. 5, there were more than 440,200 measles cases worldwide reported to WHO. In 2018, there were about 350,000 cases.
Measles is among the most infectious diseases and can be prevented with two doses of vaccine.
WHO data for the first six months of 2019 shows the highest number of measles cases reported worldwide since 2006, and the world's largest epidemic is currently raging in the Democratic Republic of Congo, while there have been several large outbreaks this year in places like Madagascar and Ukraine.
And the UN health agency has been sounding the alarm over vaccination rates around the globe as the anti-vaccine movement gains steam, driven mainly by fraudulent claims linking the MMR vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella to a risk of autism in children.
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