A disease that killed 42 people in Saudi Arabia last year is on the rise again

The 2017 coronavirus outbreak was so devastating that it led to fears about the ability of humankind to contain infectious diseases in the future. An outbreak of the deadly virus killed at least 42…

A disease that killed 42 people in Saudi Arabia last year is on the rise again

The 2017 coronavirus outbreak was so devastating that it led to fears about the ability of humankind to contain infectious diseases in the future. An outbreak of the deadly virus killed at least 42 people in the Middle East.

And now, the World Health Organization says that a sustained spike in the number of cases is likely coming soon. While in 2018, a total of 769 people worldwide have contracted the virus, the number of new cases is up by 88 percent, from 172 to 286, and the WHO fears an even more substantial jump coming.

Almost all cases have been mild, and had to be treated with supportive care. However, the increase in cases is making parents increasingly concerned about immunizing their children. About 90 percent of children aged 5 to 24 years are enrolled in a school, but their parents either don’t trust vaccines or don’t want to worry about a potentially deadly disease. The WHO has urged governments to reassure parents with special measures like providing additional protection against pandemic influenza, or giving more vaccinations in public health centers.

But for some countries, some of the risk-mitigating measures taken now aren’t quick enough. France, for example, isn’t vaccinating in about 400,000 kids, and only vaccinates young people. Pakistan, meanwhile, doesn’t follow WHO recommendations of age groups and continues to exempt more than 7 percent of doctors. Malaysia is the second-most lenient on this front, with about a third of its pediatricians exempt.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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