Measles cases up 80% worldwide – symptoms of the condition you need to spot

Measles: UNICEF warns Coronavirus could bring resurgence

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Measles is described by the WHO as the “canary in the coalmine” as its presence normally indicates other disease outbreaks are on their way.

Senior Health Adviser to the WHO Christopher Gregory said it was a “tracer that really shows us where those weaknesses in the immunisation system are”.

Gregory added the WHO was “particularly worried about those countries that are most fragile, where the healthcare systems are already really struggling, where they’re still trying to deal with the impacts of Covid on top of these outbreaks”.

The WHO’s comments come at a time when there is great debate over the vaccine gap between rich and poor countries; while the likes of the US and UK are onto their fourth dose, nations such as Somalia are still working through their first.

Such is the impact of COVID-19 it has created a perfect storm that could put millions of children’s lives at risk concludes the WHO.

Measles is believed to be the first of the diseases to break through the immune system barrier weakened by two years of lockdowns.

Symptoms of the condition include cold like symptoms but can lead to more serious complications such as:
• Blindness
• Brain swelling
• Diarrhoea
• Severe respiratory infections.

As with Covid vaccination is considered the most efficacious method of preventing the spread with at least 95 percent required to stop it spreading.

However, in impoverished nations like Somalia, the vaccination rate is just 46 percent according to the UN.

Somalia has been particularly affected by the measles outbreak, recording more than 9,000 cases in the past year.

Other countries experiencing outbreaks include Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Ethiopia; with the ongoing conflict officials believe Ukraine could be next to experience a measles surge.

In a statement the head of the WHO Tedros Ghebreyesus said: “The impact of these disruptions to immunisation services will be felt for decades to come. Now is the moment to get essential immunisation back on track and launch catch-up campaigns so that everybody can have access to these life-saving vaccines.”

Meanwhile measles isn’t the only disease whose outbreak is being partly blamed on Covid.

So too are the recent and mysterious rise in cases of acute hepatitis in children.

Over 100 have been infected with the inflammatory liver condition in an outbreak originating in Scotland.

Scientists believe the adenovirus could be the root cause behind the virus as it has been linked to three quarters of cases.

However as to how the circumstances came about leading to the outbreak there is division.

One theory running is that the national lockdowns brought into curb the spread of COVID-19 played a role.

Officials say these lockdowns meant children weren’t exposed to common infections in their formative years leaving them more susceptible to viruses.

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