Measles lessons in an anti-vaccination era: public health is a social duty not a political option.

Wednesday, 22nd of November 2017 Print

Ital J Pediatr. 2017 Nov 15;43(1):102. doi: 10.1186/s13052-017-0420-6.

Measles lessons in an anti-vaccination era: public health is a social duty not a political option.

Lancella L1 Di Camillo C2 Vittucci AC1 Boccuzzi E3 Bozzola E1 Villani A1.

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Measles virus member of the genus Morbillivirus in the family Paramyxoviridae is a highly contagious human pathogen. An effective live-attenuated vaccine is available and its use has the potential to eradicate the disease from the human population. Although the vaccine was introduced in national vaccination schedules several measles outbreaks have occurred because of insufficient vaccination coverage. Since early January 2017 a new outbreak of measles in Italy has been observed.

METHODS:

We analyzed all the patients admitted to the Emergency Department of Bambino Gesù Children Hospital of Rome from the 1st of January 2017 to the end of May 2017 and discharged with diagnosis of suspected or confirmed measles or admitted to the Pediatric and Infectious Disease Unit. For each confirmed case demographic data vaccination history exposure to source case clinical presentation date of onset of symptoms hospitalization laboratory test results complications and therapy were collected.

RESULTS:

From the 1st of January 2017 to the 31st of May 2017 we enrolled 139 patients who were conducted to the Emergency Department of Bambino Gesù Childrens Hospital because of measles: 33 patients were discharged with the diagnosis of suspected measles by clinical manifestations; 33 discharged with the diagnosis of confirmed measles by laboratory tests and 73 were admitted to the Pediatric and Infectious Disease Unit. Seven patients who were exposed to mothers with measles were admitted to receive treatment with Measles Immune Globulin intravenously. Among the 66 patients admitted to the hospital with measles 31 cases (47%) occurred in unvaccinated individuals who were age-eligible for measles vaccination; 29 (44%) were infants too young to be vaccinated; only five patients (8%) received one dose of measles-containing vaccine. Out of the 66 patients 35 (53%) developed complications. Acute respiratory failure was the most reported complications (20%). Death due to multiorgan failure by measles occurred in one 9-girl-year-age patient with genetic disorders who was unvaccinated.

CONCLUSIONS:

Measles still represents a serious public health problem worldwide. Vaccination against measles is safe effective and cost-effective. High vaccination coverage (>95%) with two doses of measles vaccine is crucial to elimination. Health care professionals play an important role in vaccination uptake and prevention of measles spread during an outbreak.

 

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