(File photo)

A recent report from the World Health Organization (WHO) has now placed anti-vaxxers in the list of the top 10 biggest threats to global health in 2019.

The report cites the 30% increase in measles cases worldwide – which includes the 15 people who were diagnosed with it in B.C. so far this year – as evidence of a resurgence of preventable diseases caused by the refusal to vaccinate.

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“The reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines threatens to reverse progress made in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases,” said the WHO.

“Vaccination is one of the most cost-effective ways of avoiding disease – it currently prevents 2-3 million deaths a year, and a further 1.5 million could be avoided if global coverage of vaccinations improved.”

The statement also calls out the fact that countries that were close to eliminating diseases like measles have recently seen a resurgence.

Vaccine hesitancy is attributed to several reasons, including complacency, inconvenience in accessing vaccines, and lack of confidence, and the WHO encourages people to trust health workers to provide credible information on immunization.

This year, the WHO hopes to increase coverage of the HPV vaccine in an effort to eliminate cervical cancer.

They’re also looking to get rid of poliovirus altogether in Afghanistan and Pakistan by the end of the year with increased support of immunization programs.

Here’s the list of top 10 threats to global health in 2019

  • Air pollution and climate change
  • Noncommunicable diseases
  • Global influenza pandemic
  • Fragile and vulnerable settings
  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Ebola and other high-threat pathogens
  • Weak primary health care
  • Vaccine hesitancy
  • Dengue
  • HIV

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