Measles cases rise worldwide

The number of measles cases reported worldwide in 2010 rose by approximately 60,000 over the previous year, primarily due to major outbreaks in Europe and Africa.

From 2000 to 2008, the total number of worldwide cases fell from more than 850,000 to nearly 250,000, and remained stable for 2009. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly reported 339,845 cases in 2010, despite an increase in global vaccine coverage, according to the New York Daily News.

Malawi (118,712 cases), Burkino Faso (54,118 cases) and Iraq (30,328 cases) saw the largest jumps in the number of total cases reported in 2009-2010. Several European countries, notably Bulgaria (22,004 cases) and France (5,048), were also on the list of the top 15.

The outbreaks have been linked to low vaccination coverage within a given population. In some cases, poor access to health services limited coverage. In other cases, religious or philosophical objections caused parents to oppose vaccinating their children, according to the New York Daily News.

"By the end of 2010, 40 percent of countries had not met the annual incidence target of fewer than five cases per million," the CDC said, the New York Daily News reports. "Key challenges must be overcome to meet the 2015 objectives."

China and India, the world's two most populous countries, showed what the CDC called "promising advances" in support of the measles vaccine in 2010. China successfully vaccinated more than 103 million children and India began a two dose vaccination strategy.