Largest measles outbreak: MSF intervenes in Kongo Central
Measles kills more than 200,000 people each year – mostly children aged under five – although a cheap and effective vaccine has existed for over half a century.

In 2019, there were 870,000 cases of measles reported – the highest number in nearly a quarter of a century – and nearly 208,000 deaths. The disease is extremely contagious, yet easily preventable with two doses of a vaccine. MSF has vaccinated some 29 million children against measles since 2006. Outbreaks are fuelled by weak public immunisation systems and low vaccination coverage, including in areas of conflict and among high numbers of people living in close quarters, such as refugee camps.

Quick facts about measles

5 Minutes to Understand... Measles (ENG)
video

Measles: 5 minutes to understand

5 minutes to understand

Measles is a highly contagious disease can cause deadly epidemics.

The World Health Organization estimates that measles cases in Africa rose 700 per cent between 2018 and 2019.

In low-income countries, when measles is combined with malnutrition or malaria, it’s effects can be devastating. But, thanks to a safe, cheap and effective vaccine, measles is a preventable disease.

In Chad, Niger, and Nigeria, supply and cold chain issues, lack of staff and resources have all affected recent vaccination campaigns. As a result, epidemics that broke out in 2018 continue to claim lives.

Taking action in contexts like these necessitates a series of strategic decisions.

MSF Measles Intervention Bezambe: Nina and Ornella
A huge proportion of children are susceptible to measles. Anna-Clara Ivarsson

How Merveille beat measles

 
Democratic Republic of Congo

At Goma volcano site, MSF focuses on water and prevention

Project Update 21 Jan 2002
 
Nigeria

Fear of measles epidemic in Nigeria expanding

Project Update 23 Apr 2001
 
Measles

How MSF teams treat measles patients

Project Update 28 Sep 2000
 
Measles

How measles kills

Project Update 28 Sep 2000
 
Access to medicines

Overview of the MSF case load and action to October 16, 1999

Project Update 21 Oct 1999
 
Democratic Republic of Congo

Measles epidemic hits district in Democratic Republic of Congo

Project Update 2 Sep 1999
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29 July 2020