The number of measles cases worldwide surged to nearly 900,000 in 2019, the highest figure in more than two decades, underlining a significant U-turn in global progress to combat the disease.
Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the number of people dying from measles also increased by 50% since 2016, with an estimated 207,500 deaths in 2019 alone.
The increase in reported cases was seen all across the globe, according to a report published on Friday, and reverses more than a decade of steady progress.
From 2000 to 2016, the number of reported measles cases decreased 84%, from 853,479 in 2000 to 132,490 in 2016. Between 2016 and 2019, however, the number of cases jumped 556% from 132,490 to 869,770, the highest reported number of cases since 1996, the data shows.
Authors point to a failure to vaccinate children on time as the main driver of the increases in cases and deaths.