Measles cases rose 300% worldwide through the first three months of 2019 compared to the same period last year, the World Health Organisation has said.

It said the number of measles cases worldwide rose to 112,163 against the same period last year, citing provisional data.

Higher rates of the preventable but highly contagious disease, which can kill a child or leave it disabled for life, have been recorded in all regions, the United Nations agency said in a statement.

"While this data is provisional and not yet complete, it indicates a clear trend," it said.

It added: "Many countries are in the midst of sizeable measles outbreaks, with all regions of the world experiencing sustained rises in cases".

The organisation noted that actual cases always surpass reported cases, meaning the early trends for 2019 likely underestimate the severity of the outbreaks.

It also appealed for better vaccination coverage.

"Over recent months, spikes in case numbers have also occurred in countries with high overall vaccination coverage, including the United States...as well as Israel, Thailand, and Tunisia, as the disease has spread fast among clusters of unvaccinated people," the WHO said.