In 2018 measles caused approximately 136,000 deaths around the world, according to the WHO’s preliminary figures. The highly contagious disease can cause severe diarrhoea, pneumonia and vision loss. It can be fatal in some cases and remains “an important cause of death among young children” according to the WHO. The disease can be easily prevented with two doses of a “safe and efficient” vaccine that has been in use since the 1960s, the UN agency says. Facebook under pressure to halt rise of anti-vaccination groups Read more Up until 2016 the number of measles cases had been steadily declining but since 2017 the number had soared, according to Katrina Kretsinger, who heads WHO’s expanded immunisation programme. “There are a number of outbreaks … which are driving some of these increases,” she told reporters, pointing to significant outbreaks in Ukraine, Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Chad and Sierra Leone. In Madagascar alone “from October 2018 through 12 February 2019 a total of 66,278 cases and 922 deaths have been reported”, the WHO said.