Monday, October 17, 2011

Viral Exportations- International Measles Outbreak

Measles incidence rates have fallen to under 1% of the population under the age of 30 in regions where the vaccination is readily available. Even though the MMVR (measles, mumps, rubella, varicella) vaccine has been available in the United States since 2005, there have been recent outbreaks of the corresponding infections. In Berkeley, there have been over 40 cases of confirmed mumps.

On an international scale, the World Health Organization recently published a report regarding measles outbreaks worldwide which affected regions of the Americas, Europe, and Africa. Regions in the Americas suffered from several outbreaks that were linked to importation of the measles virus from other regions- primarily Europe, Malaysia (outbreaks in the US and Chile) and Kenya (outbreak in Ecuador). In Europe, 40 of 53 member states of the WHO reported over 26,000 confirmed cases of measles with 11 of these cases being lethal. The last region that was affected this year was Africa, with the most confirmed cases- over 103,000. The Democratic Republic of Congo have also reported over 1100 measles-associated deaths this year.

The Americas had not had a measles endemic since 2002. In Europe, they’ve responded to the outbreaks by adapting their vaccination schedule accordingly including lowering the cost (offering free vaccinations in school) in order to increase accessibility. This report reinforces the dangers of international trade and travel and the possibility of tourists or foreigners introducing new viral strains to a susceptible population. Control and preventative measures should be implemented to avoid viral exportations.

Original Source:

-Angela Cesena

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