Measles epidemic sweeps northern Syria

An epidemic of measles is sweeping through parts of northern Syria, with at least 7,000 people affected because the ongoing civil war has disrupted vaccination programmes, Doctors Without Borders said on Tuesday.

"The main factor leading to the worsening of the situation and to outbreaks has been the disruption of routine immunisation activities," MSF said.

Consequently, for measles has dropped from around 80 percent to almost zero among young children, it added.

Only 13 cases were reported throughout the country in 2010 and 26 in 2011, according to data.

Now at least 7,000 people have been infected, with the disease spreading more quickly in part because of the large number of Syrians displaced by the conflict and living in close quarters.

In a bid to stem the epidemic, MSF has been conducting an immunisation programme in parts of northern Syria that are largely rebel-controlled.

The group said it had vaccinated more than 75,000 children in the provinces of Aleppo, Raqa and Idlib.

But the war has made the process difficult.

"Queues for vaccinations had to be avoided for fear that they might attract air strikes or rocket attacks," MSF said.

The group also warned that while the mortality rate associated with the current was low, infection would render children more vulnerable to other diseases at a time when basic healthcare is increasingly unavailable.

"Complications arising from measles can be life-threatening," the group said.

"Apart from the direct victims of the violence in Syria, are rising, especially among the most vulnerable, due the to lack of such as vaccinations and the lack of access to basic health care," MSF said.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Measles: New efforts needed to stop an old disease

Apr 25, 2013

New diseases grab headlines. The latest influenza scare – H7N9 – has prompted much speculation about the direction the virus might take. And rightly so, as vaccines to fight new viruses can take some ...

Measles surges in UK years after flawed research (Update)

May 20, 2013

More than a decade ago, British parents refused to give measles shots to at least a million children because of now discredited research that linked the vaccine to autism. Now, health officials are scrambling ...

Recommended for you

Reducing kidney injury using a quality improvement method

1 hour ago

Using quality improvement measures in eight of the 10 hospitals in the Northern New England Cardiovascular Disease Study Group, researchers have found a way to reduce kidney injury in patients undergoing a procedure with ...

App for headache sufferers shows success

13 hours ago

A unique app that helps headache sufferers to record the severity and regularity of their pain is being used as part of a Griffith research study.

West African airline suspends flights amid Ebola (Update)

18 hours ago

(AP)—Police officers deployed to Liberia's international airport to ensure passengers are screened for Ebola symptoms as a major regional airline announced Tuesday it was suspending flights to the cities hardest hit by ...

User comments