The world can face an outbreak of measles because of the current coronavirus pandemic that is hampering the vaccination of millions of children, according to a statement from the World Organization for Measles and Rubella, among others. health and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
A measles epidemic is likely to break out worldwide because 117 million children will not be vaccinated this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, announced the global initiative against measles and rubella (M&RI) led by the American Red Cross, the United Nations Foundation, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and the World Health Organization.
“As Covid-19 continues to spread worldwide, more than 117 million children in 37 countries may not receive life-saving measles vaccines. Vaccination campaigns against measles in 24 countries have already been delayed; others will be carried over “to 13 other countries in 2020, the statement said.
Suspend or continue vaccination against the backdrop of a pandemic?
The World Health Organization (WHO) has released new guidelines to help countries continue immunization activities during the Covid-19 pandemic. These guidelines recommend that governments suspend preventive vaccination campaigns in areas where there are no active outbreaks and consider postponing vaccination if the risk of spreading Covid-19 is too high.
“M&RI partners […] agree with these guidelines. We also urge countries to continue routine immunization, while ensuring the safety of communities and health workers […] and to intensify their efforts to follow up on unvaccinated children, so that the most vulnerable populations can receive vaccines. against measles as soon as it is possible to do so, “continue the authors of the press release.
Measles outbreaks in progress
In December, WHO released a report that nearly half of the measles cases were in Ukraine, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Somalia and Madagascar.
Measles is very contagious and can lead to serious complications, such as blindness or encephalitis. In addition, it increases the risk of developing pneumonia and intestinal diseases, which often lead to the death of the patient.
Despite the existence of a safe and effective vaccine for more than 50 years, “cases of measles have increased in recent years and have made more than 140,000 deaths in 2018, mainly children and babies, deaths that we would have could have avoided, ”according to M&RI.