Date: Sun 19 May 2019
Source: Vax Before Travel [abridged, edited]
The eastern African country of Ethiopia has been reporting measles outbreaks for many years, however, in 2019, new information indicates children are the ones most vulnerable for this infectious disease.
According to reporting by the European Commission, approximately 54% of the 4000 measles cases in Ethiopia reported during 2019 affected children under 5 years of age.
Moreover, over 60% of the children had never received their 1st measles vaccine dose.
This new data estimates that by the end of 2019, about 3.5 million children will be susceptible to the measles virus, mainly because of the failure to achieve the 'herd-immunity' necessary to interrupt transmission.
Moreover, these Ethiopian children are not the only under-vaccinated population.
An estimated 169 million children missed out on the 1st dose of the measles vaccine between 2010 and 2017, or 21.1 million children a year on average, said UNICEF on 25 Apr 2019.
And, the measles virus is one of the leading causes of death among children, particularly in developing countries. An estimated 100,000 measles deaths occurred globally in 2017.
Ethiopia announced it would aggressively confront this under-vaccination issue by integrating the measles vaccine 2nd dose (MCV2) vaccination into the routine immunization program in the 2nd year of life.
The Ethiopian Ministry of Health said about 3 348 363 children will receive measles vaccine 2nd doses.
Dr Chatora Rufaro, World Health Organization (WHO) Ethiopia representative said in a press release, "The introduction of the 2nd dose of measles vaccination in Ethiopia will significantly contribute to a reduction of measles morbidity and mortality as well as the overall child mortality by preventing measles outbreaks."
To notify visitors about Ethiopia's ongoing measles risks, the CDC issued an initial Level 1 Travel Alert in 2015. Since then, the CDC advises all visitors to Ethiopia to ensure they are immunized against the measles virus. [Byline: Don Ward Hackett]
[HealthMap/ProMED-mail map of Ethiopia: