Have you heard about the outbreak of a sometimes fatal disease that saw 8,600 cases in one African country alone in 2014? There was another, smaller, outbreak in December. The same disease saw 18,000 cases between 2009 and 2011 in South Africa.That country is the giveaway: we’re not talking about Ebola. In this instance the disease was measles, which killed 122,000 people in 2012, according to the World Health Organization, and affects more than 20 million people every year.Grim mortality statistics are not the only way in which measles puts the current outbreak of Ebola into perspective. Many scientists, campaigners and aid workers are quick to point out that the global reaction to Ebola – and the indecent haste to manufacture a vaccine – says much about the way in which the West’s health priorities trump those in developing countries.At least all of us will have heard of measles. But it is one of just many diseases – at least 20 according to the WHO – that take an inexorable toll on developing nations, particularly in Africa. Unlike Ebola, there is no discernible political momentum to devise a vaccine for most of them.They include leishmaniasis, which occurs in 98 countries… Read full this story
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