2017 Fact Sheet

The Measles & Rubella Initiative is a global partnership committed to ensuring no child dies from measles or is born with congenital rubella syndrome.

Since 2001, the Initiative has been led by the American Red Cross, United Nations Foundation, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and the World Health Organization.

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Measles

• A leading cause of death among children despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine for over 50 years
• More than 10 million people are affected by measles each year, particularly in Africa and Asia
• In developing countries where children are often malnourished and have limited or no access to medical treatment, measles kills easily
• Outbreaks cost money, time and lives when public health authorities spend time tracing potential contacts, and spend money treating people in hospital. Sick children stay home from school and parents stay home to care for them.

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• In emergency settings, outbreaks are deadly within communities experiencing, or recovering from conflict or natural disaster. Overcrowding in refugee or internally-displaced camps greatly increases the risk of measles transmission and complications.

Rubella

• The rubella virus is the leading infectious disease cause of birth defects.
• When pregnant women become infected, particularly during the first trimester of pregnancy, there is a 90% chance of the
foetus having congenital rubella syndrome (CRS)
• More than 100,000 babies are born with CRS every year

A baby born with CRS can have multiple defects including heart disorders, blindness, deafness or brain damage

For just $2.00 measles and rubella can be prevented with a safe, effective and inexpensive vaccine which can be delivered alone, combined, or as the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

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WE MUST MOVE FASTER

Eliminating measles and rubella means reaching every child to protect them against both diseases, including the poor and the marginalized.

75% of global measles deaths occur in just six countries – India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ethiopia. These same six countries also account for approximately half of babies born each year with congenital rubella syndrome. And yet, measles and rubella elimination is achievable. We know this because the Region of the Americas achieved measles elimination in 2002 and rubella followed in 2015. In the Western Pacific Region, we are at the doorstep of measles elimination.

Measles deaths have fallen 79% between 2000 and 2015.

The measles vaccine will save more lives before 2020 than all other vaccines combined. Due to its effectiveness, low cost and impact, the rate of return for the measles vaccine is $58 for every $1 invested

To reach 2020 elimination goals, necessary financial resources must be secured to ensure timely and high quality measles and rubella activities.

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