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Sun Jan 12, 2020, 09:02 AM

Red alert from World Health Organization: 6,000 dead in Congo measles outbreak

Red alert from World Health Organization: 6,000 dead in Congo measles outbreak

Walter Einenkel

GOMA, DR CONGO - NOVEMBER 13: (ISRAEL OUT) A Congolese boy gets vaccinated for rubella at the Kibati displaced camp, November 13, 2008 on the outskirts of the town of Goma, Congo. The head of UN peacekeeping has asked the UN Security Council for more than 3000 extra troops to be deployed to the eastern region of the DRC. The request is an attempt to protect civillians from the violence of rebel forces and the Congolese Army. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

This past year saw the largest measles outbreak across the planet. Over the past couple of months, an outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has taken hold, with a “suspected” 310,000 cases of measles and over 6,000 deaths from the disease reported in 2019 alone. On Tuesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) sent out a press release calling for aid to help combat this terrible turn.

Lack of funding remains a huge impediment to successfully curbing the outbreak. So far, US$ 27.6 million have been mobilized. However, a further US$ 40 million are required for a six-month plan to extend the vaccination to children between six and 14 years and to reinforce elements of the outbreak response beyond vaccination, including improving treatment, health education, community engagement, health system strengthening, epidemiological surveillance and response coordination.

While very privileged American anti-vaxxer advocates spent much of 2019 yelling their brand of unscientific misinformation concerning the efficacy and safety of vaccines, places like Somalia, Ukraine, Brazil, and Bangladesh reported thousands of cases of the disease. And while scientifically deficient parents throw moronic “chicken pox parties,” places like Madagascar saw over 1,200 people die from a disease that one could be inoculated against. The United States continues to have much higher vaccination rates than the countries affected, but anti-vaxxer propaganda has led to the largest outbreaks our country has seen in decades.

Anti-vaxxers in the United States will tell you that this level of outbreak can only occur in poorer, less-developed countries, and not in the United States with our medicine. Of course, their theories are based on the idea that while they pretend vaccinations give everybody autism, the majority of us will continue to get our children vaccinated and our broken healthcare system will be able to provide the medicines needed to Americans suffering from areas of low vaccination rates.

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