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In Vietnam, an anatomy of a measles outbreak

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Science  29 May 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6238, pp. 962
DOI: 10.1126/science.348.6238.962

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Summary

Routine immunization is one of the great public health success stories in Vietnam, where rates of vaccine-preventable diseases have plummeted. But the measles outbreak last year was another story, with 60,000 reported cases and nearly 150 deaths in children under age 2. Experts trace the epidemic to the public's loss of faith in the government-led vaccination program, following reports of adverse events associated in time with another vaccine. Many parents stopped vaccinating their children, leaving them susceptible to measles. When the virus swept in from the north and hit Hanoi, it exploded. Panicked parents rushed their children to the hospital, which was quickly overburdened. With poor infection control, the hospital became a hub of measles transmission, and children who weren't already infected caught the virus there.

  • * in Hanoi. Reporting for this story was supported by the UN Foundation.