Measles is a highly contagious disease. It’s also mostly preventable thanks to vaccines and widespread immunization. In 2000, measles was declared eliminated in the United States. Since then, it has reemerged. Outbreaks this year highlight the impact of non-universal immunization in the U.S., Europe, and globally. Reported cases worldwide rose 300% in the first three months of 2019, with several countries experiencing outbreaks, according to World Health Organization preliminary data.
Globally, immunization against the disease among children ages 12-23 months has risen from 69% in 1992 to 85% in 2017. Nevertheless, 169 million children worldwide missed out on the first dose of the measles vaccine between 2010 and 2017, or 21.1 million children a year on average. In 2017, an estimated 110,000 people, most of them children, died from measles, according to UNICEF.
The World Bank Group strongly supports childhood immunizations and is a founding member of the global vaccine alliance, Gavi. Funding from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), supported by 52 donor countries, helped immunize 274 million children from July 2011 to June 2018.
Vaccines must reach every child, everywhere, to truly eliminate measles.