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Risk of Measles Outbreak in Rio after 18 Years

07/11/2018 - 11h48

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JÚLIA BARBON
RIO DE JANEIRO

Two cases of measles confirmed on Monday (9) in the city of Rio de Janeiro indicate the risk of an outbreak, since the disease is highly contagious.

The two patients are students at UFRJ (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro) and they have not recently travelled to places where high rates of the disease have been registered, such as Roraima, Amazonas and Venezuela.

Both had received the two doses required, but according to the State Health Department of Rio, they are part of a minority in which the vaccine does not generate immunity.

The state had not recorded indigenous measles cases for 18 years. The last ones, in 2014, were imported.

The government says that vaccination coverage for children aged one in Rio is of 95% - the goal established by the National Immunization Program - and the local government states the number in the capital 107%.

Dr Alexandre Chieppe, from the Department of Health Surveillance of RJ, states isolated cases or clusters of the disease may appear, but they would represent a small number considering the coverage in Rio. To avoid new cases the government now focuses on the immunization of teenagers and adults who did not receive the vaccine.

To prevent cases from spreading, the Municipal Health Department administered 573 doses of the vaccine to students and employees at UFRJ.

Brazil registered 475 confirmed cases of measles this year. Amazonas (263), Roraima (200), Rio Grande do Sul (7), Mato Grosso (2), Rio de Janeiro (2) and São Paulo (1). There had been no confirmations of the disease in Brazil since 2015, and no indigenous cases since 2000. In 2016, Brazil received the certification of measles elimination from the WHO (World Health Organization), which declared the Americas region was free from the disease.

In 2017, four countries in the region had cases. The number has already gone up to 11 this year-particularly Venezuela.

Translated by ANA BEATRIZ DEMARIA

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