Measles Outbreaks Make 2019 a Record-Setting Year

Samoan parents never expected to face

such Greece I was shocked it was very

hard for me to accept what happened it's

very hard to she's gone and I never

forget her the way the way I try to

teach her how to talk

measles claimed the lives of more than

80 Samoans mostly children and infants

two shots of a vaccine could have saved

those children's lives the vaccination

rate in Samoa dropped to about 30

percent after two children died from a

measles vaccine that was mixed with a

muscle relaxant instead of water parents

panicked and anti vaccination activists

convinced them to avoid the vaccine then

measles exploded on the island when the

hospitals and health clinics were

overrun with very sick children and

there weren't enough health care workers

and hospital beds to adequately deliver

the services that they needed the Samoan

government started a massive vaccination

effort it then turned to the CDC for


CDC also was asked to do training of

health care workers to ensure that safe

vaccine delivery as well as to monitor

the quality of the immunization campaign

that took place in 2019 more than

400,000 cases of measles were reported

globally with an additional 250 thousand

cases in the Democratic Republic of

Congo in the first three months of 2019

the number of measles cases tripled over

the same period last year the main

reason for failure to vaccinate against

measles is families communities are not

having access to the vaccine to doses of

the measles vaccine will protect

children from the disease yet conflict

and poor health systems in low-income

countries prevent families from

vaccinating their children in rich


vaccinations are declining too some

parents are opting out of the

immunizations the United States tops the

list with two and a half million

children missing their first dose of the

measles vaccine in 2019 the CDC reported

that more than a thousand cases of

measles in 31 states by late December

the highest number in 25 years then in

the United States now we've got measles

outbreaks and epidemics are becoming a

new normal in this country after we've

eliminated measles in 2000 the w-h-o

took away the measles eradication status

of four European countries because of

outbreaks and their low immunization

rates in other words were backsliding

Samoa concluded its state of emergency

just before 2019 ended but the

resurgence of measles remains a global

health problem unless children get

vaccinated there will be more deaths and

more measles outbreaks in 2020 Carole

Pearson VOA news Washington