Potential measles outbreaks in the Caribbean

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

Caribbean islands have been warned by the Pan American Health Organizations to update their response plans to prevent the re-establishment of endemic transmission of the measles virus.

This PAHO says follows a reduction in childhood vaccination coverage, increasing the possibility for outbreaks of this disease.

An alert from PAHO said “vaccination and epidemiological surveillance of vaccine-preventable diseases are essential health services and should not be interrupted”.

PAHO’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on vaccines said that the risk of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases in the region is at its highest point in the last 30 years.

According to PAHO, in 2021 more than 1.7 million children in 28 countries and territories of the Americas did not receive an initial dose of measles vaccine by their first birthday and regional coverage for the first dose of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) was 85 per cent.

PAHO said only six countries reached the recommended level of 95 per cent or more needed to sustain the elimination of these diseases, and 10 countries reported coverage of less than 80 per cent.

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