Report

Reduced vaccination and the risk of measles and other childhood infections post-Ebola

Science  13 Mar 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6227, pp. 1240-1242
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa3438

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text
As a service to the community, AAAS/Science has made this article free with registration.

Vaccinate children despite Ebola

During the medical emergency caused by the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, routine childhood vaccination programs have been suspended. If vaccination is not resumed soon, there could be even more deaths. Measles is highly infectious, and outbreaks are a sign of health care systems in trouble. Using mathematical modelling, Takahashi et al. estimate that about a million children across Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea are vulnerable to measles. Aggressive public health programs are vital for this region to minimize harm, not only from measles but also from polio, malaria, tuberculosis, and other childhood infections.

Science, this issue p. 1240

Abstract

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa has caused substantial morbidity and mortality. The outbreak has also disrupted health care services, including childhood vaccinations, creating a second public health crisis. We project that after 6 to 18 months of disruptions, a large connected cluster of children unvaccinated for measles will accumulate across Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. This pool of susceptibility increases the expected size of a regional measles outbreak from 127,000 to 227,000 cases after 18 months, resulting in 2000 to 16,000 additional deaths (comparable to the numbers of Ebola deaths reported thus far). There is a clear path to avoiding outbreaks of childhood vaccine-preventable diseases once the threat of Ebola begins to recede: an aggressive regional vaccination campaign aimed at age groups left unprotected because of health care disruptions.

View Full Text