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Global Health
May 19, 2015

Increased Measles Risk Possible in African Countries Affected by Ebola

JAMA. 2015;313(19):1897. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.4782

The recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa has disrupted health care services, including routine vaccination programs for childhood diseases, thereby potentially increasing the risk for measles in this area, report investigators from the United States, United Kingdom, and Sweden (Takahashi S et al. Science. 2015;347[6227]:1240-1242).

To understand how such health care interruptions could increase the measles risk, the researchers estimated the spatial distribution of unvaccinated children and the measles susceptibility profile for Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea before and after the Ebola outbreak began in December 2013. Based on surveys from health care providers, they assumed a 75% reduction in vaccination rates after the Ebola outbreak and projected that the number of children between 9 months and 5 years of age not vaccinated against measles would increase by an average of almost 20 000 every month, to reach more than 1 million unvaccinated children by 18 months.

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