JOURNAL ARTICLE

Measles outbreaks in the Mozambican refugee camps in Malawi: the continued need for an effective vaccine

J D Porter, M Gastellu-Etchegorry, I Navarre, G Lungu, A Moren
International Journal of Epidemiology 1990, 19 (4): 1072-7
2083992
Between November 1988 and January 1989, measles outbreaks occurred in 11 Mozambican refugee camps in Malawi with five camps principally affected. A total of 1214 cases were reported. Despite the reduction of the age of measles vaccination to six months in 1987, attack rates were highest in children aged 6-9 months (10-26%); rates were also high in the 0-5 month age group (3-21%). The case-fatality rate was high among children less than five years old (15-21%). Children were being inappropriately vaccinated, either being vaccinated at less than six months of age (2-29%) or failing to receive a second dose if vaccinated at six months (0-25%). With vaccine coverage between 66-87%, vaccine efficacy in children less than five years old was estimated to be more than 90% in the camps principally affected. Reduction of the age of vaccination leads to logistical problems in vaccine delivery in refugee situations. These outbreaks again indicate the need to improve vaccine coverage with the existing Schwarz vaccine, and also highlight the urgent need for an effective single dose measles vaccine for children less than nine months of age.

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