By Chris Kay
A “Surreal” Comeback
Measles has made an unwelcome global resurgence from Ohio to Indonesia with cases rising around the world, and the worst of it is happening across India.
Health workers in the country that’s home to 1.4 billion people are rushing to contain the world’s biggest outbreak of measles, which presents itself through a distinctive dotted rash, coughing and a fever that can be deadly for children under the age of five. More than 11,000 cases were registered in India between April and October this year, the most globally, according to the latest World Health Organization and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
After India’s health system was devastated last year by a brutal coronavirus wave, the country’s authorities appear to have been taken off guard again by the return of another highly contagious virus in some of its most congested cities like Mumbai, the country’s financial capital.
Though easily preventable through routine MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccinations, a 95% coverage rate is needed to halt community spread. The outbreaks appear largely due to delayed childhood inoculation campaigns caused by Covid lockdowns. Almost 40 million kids across the world missed a measles shot last year, according to a report published last month by the WHO and the US CDC.