Measles cases are spreading all over the world

Quebec survived, but cases of measles have spread around the world since the beginning of 2022. Millions of children, who have not received their vaccinations, are at risk of contracting it.

Posted at 6:00 AM

Alice Gerard Boss

Alice Gerard Boss


The number of measles cases worldwide increased in the first two months of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021

Sources: World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund

‘worrying’ situation

PHOTO LYNSEY ADDARIO, The New York Times Archives

A woman mourns the death of her child who succumbed to measles in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“It is very worrying,” says Dr.s Brian Ward, Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at McGill University. It is a highly aggressive virus with an absolutely unacceptable mortality rate of up to 5% in poor countries. Hospitalization in young children can be as high as 50% to 75%,” the doctor notes.

The five countries with the most measles cases in the past 12 months, up to April 2022

  • Nigeria 12 (341 cases)
  • Somalia (9068 cases)
  • Yemen (3,629 cases)
  • Afghanistan (3,628 cases)
  • Ethiopia (3,039 cases)

Source: World Health Organization

highly contagious disease

PHOTO SCHNEYDER MENDOZA, Agence France-Presse Archives

Venezuelans line up to vaccinate their children against measles in 2018.

Measles is one of the most contagious diseases. The infection usually begins with a discharge from the nose and eyes, redness around the eyes, a cough and fever, and details of ds take After three to five days, a rash in the form of a small spot is added. It starts on the face and neck, then spreads to the rest of the body.

Almost perfect efficiency

Photo by Daniel Mihailescu, AFP

A young Romanian receives the measles vaccine in Bucharest in 2018.

However, there is a surefire way to prevent measles: vaccination. Dr. says.s take Before the vaccine was used, there were 300,000 to 400,000 cases a year in Canada, according to federal government data. Today, only a few cases are registered each year. However, the situation is less rosy in some countries with low vaccination coverage.

COVID-19 pandemic in question

PHOTO SCHNEYDER MENDOZA, Agence France-Presse Archives

The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted essential immunization services for children in many countries.

The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted essential immunization services for children in many countries. Dr. said.s Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. “Our motto is to quickly return to distributing vaccines in an appropriate manner, because we cannot allow this virus to pass quickly,” adds Benoit Barbeau, a virologist and professor in the Department of Science, Biology from the University of Quebec in Montreal.

73 million

Number of children whose measles vaccination has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Sources: World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund

And here in Quebec?

Since 2001, when there were no outbreaks, Quebec has recorded 0 to 4 cases of measles annually. Mostly, these are the people who contracted the disease abroad. But the situation is not always that calm, as several outbreaks have hit the county over the past 50 years.

1989 The largest epidemic since the introduction of the measles vaccination program in the 1970s, has infected more than 10,000 people, mostly young people of school age.

2007 : The outbreak affects 99 people in several regions of Quebec. Estrie and Montérégie recorded the highest number of cases.


In 2007, the press conference of Dr.s Horacio Arruda and DrDr Jocelyn Sophie, Director of Public Health Protection and Director of Public Health in Monterey, respectively, during the measles outbreak.

2011 A measles outbreak infected 776 Quebecers in several areas of the province. The majority of those infected are young adults between the ages of 5 and 19.

2015 : Between January and April, an outbreak of measles occurs in the Lanaudière region. A total of 159 people were infected. None of them were vaccinated.


In 2015, a measles outbreak affected members of a religious group, Mission of the Holy Spirit, in the Lanudiere region.

Source: Quebec Department of Health and Social Services

Are we safe from a measles outbreak?

Dr. says.s take Although outbreaks in Quebec rarely exceed a few thousand individuals due to the province’s high vaccination coverage, many members of the Quebec family who have never been vaccinated remain at risk. The doctor reminds us that it is never too late to receive the vaccine. “Regardless of age, people can be vaccinated. It is even highly recommended.”


Viral respiratory illness is more contagious than influenza or tuberculosis


  • The virus is transmitted through the air and is spread through coughing and sneezing.
  • The virus remains active and contagious in the air or on infected surfaces for up to two hours.


  • blindness
  • Brain inflammation
  • Diarrhea
  • Pneumonia
  • Serious danger to pregnant women, it can lead to miscarriage


Fever, stuffy nose, cough and sore throat, redness all over the body

Source: Agence France-Presse

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