It is World Immunisation Week, an annual public health campaign by the World Health Organisation to educate people about the importance of vaccinations. But in recent years, this drive has come up against a growing anti-vaccine movement, especially against the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine. The controversy can be traced to a single 1998 research paper - since discredited - linking the MMR vaccine to autism that was published in The Lancet medical journal, which later retracted the paper. The research paper's author Andrew Wakefield was struck off the medical register in Britain for falsifying data.
But the damage was done. There has been an alarming rise in the number of measles cases globally in the first three months of this year. While there is no single cause, experts attribute the increase to factors that include a lack of effective vaccination programmes or conflict in countries, and misinformation about vaccines.