THURSDAY, Dec. 5, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The annual reported measles incidence decreased from 2000 to 2018, but the number of cases increased from 2016 to 2018, according to research published in the Dec. 6 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Minal K. Patel, M.D., from the World Health Organization in Geneva, and colleagues update previous reports and describe progress made toward the World Health Assembly milestones and regional measles elimination during 2000 to 2018.

The researchers found that estimated measles-containing vaccine coverage increased globally from 72 to 86 percent during 2000 to 2018; annual reported measles incidence decreased from 145 to 49 cases per 1 million population (66 percent decrease); and annual estimated measles deaths decreased from 535,600 to 142,300 (73 percent decrease). An estimated 23.2 million deaths were averted by vaccination during 2000 to 2018. Compared with 2016, in 2018, the number of measles cases increased 167 percent globally; since 2017, estimated global measles mortality has increased.

“The trends of increasing measles incidence and mortality are reversible; however, further progress toward achieving elimination goals will require 1) resource commitments to strengthen routine immunization systems, close historical immunity gaps, and improve surveillance to rapidly detect and respond to cases, and 2) a new perspective to use measles as a stimulus and guide to improving immunization programs,” the authors write.

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