Wednesday, November 24, 2021 | 4:20 p.m.
Given the confirmation of active measles outbreaks in countries of the region and the world, the Ministry of Health issued an epidemiological alert in order to inform about the current situation and strengthen prevention measures for the community, travelers and health teams.
“Vaccination in adults is essential, especially in health workers, crew members, international drivers, migration personnel and postpartum women. In addition, it is important that Argentines and Argentines who travel abroad make sure they are vaccinated “, emphasized the Undersecretary of Health Strategies, Juan Manuel Castelli, and explained that” the possibility of contact with the virus is increased in these groups, and with this the risk of reintroduction and dissemination of the infection ”.
In this sense, the statement of the national health portfolio urges the population to verify that in their vaccination card (both adults and children) they have the complete schedule and, in case of doubts, go to the nearest vaccination center to consult with the health team.
The National Vaccination Calendar contemplates the coverage of all boys and girls at 12 months and 5 years with the triple viral vaccine (which protects against measles, rubella and mumps). Everyone over 5 years of age, adolescents and adults should have two doses of double or triple viral vaccine. On the other hand, people born before 1965 do not need to be vaccinated because they consider themselves protected by having been in contact with viruses.
On the other hand, the alert recommends that health teams use all contact of the population with the health system to control the vaccination card and complete the necessary vaccines. It also recalls the importance of intensifying clinical suspicion and implementing surveillance measures that allow the generation of timely control actions to avoid the reintroduction of the virus to the country.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that can have a serious or fatal course and cause permanent sequelae. It is easily spread when the infected person passes respiratory secretions by talking, coughing or sneezing, or by being in contact with any contaminated object.
Symptoms are characterized by high fever, runny nose, conjunctivitis, cough, a rash on the face and neck that spreads to the rest of the body, and the appearance of small white spots on the inside of the cheek. Before the appearance of some of these symptoms it is necessary to go to the doctor.
Measles can be prevented with a vaccine that is safe and available for free at all vaccinations in the country.
In Argentina, the disease has been eliminated since 2000, thus maintaining the status of a measles-free country. Considering that the virus continues to circulate in other countries of the Region and the rest of the world, and given the decrease in vaccination coverage, there is a high risk of importation of cases and development of outbreaks.
The National Ministry of Health recommends for Argentine residents who travel abroad to ensure vaccination against measles and rubella:
• Children 6 to 11 months of age: must receive ONE DOSE of a double viral or triple viral vaccine (“zero dose”). This dose should not be taken into account as a calendar vaccination scheme.
• Children 12 months old: They must receive ONE DOSE corresponding to the calendar
• Children from 13 months to 4 years inclusive: must prove at least TWO DOSES of triple viral vaccine
• Over 5 years of age and adolescents: they must prove at least TWO DOSES of vaccine with a measles component (double or triple viral) applied after one year of life or confirm the presence of measles antibodies (serology IgG + against measles).
• Adults 18 years of age and older: must prove at least TWO DOSES of vaccine with a component against measles (double viral) applied after one year of life. People born before 1965 are considered immune and should not be vaccinated.
• Pregnant women: It is recommended to travel if you can prove at least TWO DOSES of vaccine with measles component (double viral) applied after one year of life or confirm the presence of antibodies against measles (IgG + serology against measles) through a laboratory study.
It is advisable to consider postponing and / or rescheduling the trip in pregnant women without a verifiable history of vaccination or without antibodies against measles, as well as in children under 6 months of age because they cannot receive the vaccine and are the most vulnerable group.
Regional and global epidemiological situation
Measles virus circulation in the Region of the Americas continues to be active. In 2021, two countries and one territory in the region reported confirmed measles cases: Brazil, with 619 confirmed cases including 2 deaths in 6 federal units (Amapá, Pará, Alagoas, São Paulo, Ceará and Rio de Janeiro); the United States of America, with 47 confirmed cases; and French Guiana, with 5 confirmed cases.
As of October, 43,203 measles cases were reported to the World Health Organization (WHO), mainly at the expense of the Eastern Mediterranean Region and Africa.