DOCTORS have warned that kids are at risk of contracting a highly contagious virus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Millions of kids across the globe are thought to have missed out on their measles vaccination due to lockdowns and restrictions put in place to protect people from Covid-19.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that it is the largest number of missed vaccinations in decades.
Around 22 millions kids worldwide are thought to have missed their vaccines in 2020.
Since 2016, there has been a rise in measles cases in the UK and the NHS says that this is because a fall in uptake of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.
Anyone can get measles if they have not been vaccinated or have not had it before, although it's most common in young children.
Because of vaccinations, cases are relatively uncommon. But instances can spike rapidly if an outbreak occurs.
While the infectious condition often clears up in less than two weeks, it can sometimes lead to life-threatening complications.
Measles kills around 60,000 people each year globally and it was reported in February that some areas in the UK had witnessed a fall in kids getting their jabs.
In the last few years there have been outbreaks in Samoa and Afghanistan.
Now the WHO and the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have warned that a dip in measles before the pandemic was the 'calm before the storm'.
Kate O’Brien, director of the WHO’s department of immunisation said that the risk of an outbreak had increased globally as resources had been funnelled into Covid.
She said: "It’s critical that countries vaccinate as quickly as possible against Covid, but this requires new resources so that it does not come at the cost of essential immunisation programmes.
“Routine immunisation must be protected and strengthened; otherwise, we risk trading one deadly disease for another."
What are the symptoms of measles?
Approximately 10 days after the illness is contracted, signs become noticeable.
The NHS outlines the initial symptoms of measles…
- cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, sneezing, and a cough
- sore, red eyes that may be sensitive to light
- a high temperature (fever), which may reach around 40C (104F)
- small greyish-white spots on the inside of the cheeks
A few days after these flu-like symptoms manifest, a rash often begins to appear.
Distinctive red-brown blotches spring up on the body, typically beginning at the upper neck and spreading downwards.
Severe complications can occur, including miscarriage in pregnant women, brain swelling and the risk of death from pneumonia.
Anxious parents stayed away from GP surgeries during the pandemic and in the UK, MMR vaccine rates plunged by a quarter.
A study conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that immunisation rates that were already at a seven-year low and that in 2020, 3,500 fewer kids had their jabs.
This year there was a two per cent drop in kids getting their MMR vaccines in the UK, the JCVI said in its quarterly meeting in August.
Ephrem Tekle Lemango, Unicef’s associate director for immunisation said that Covid had created gaps in coverage.
He added: "If we do not act, gaps will become outbreaks, and many children will be exposed to a preventable but potentially deadly disease."
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