Measles may be the next outbreak we face thanks to a shortfall in vaccination rates during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A recent report by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) stated that nearly 40 million children around the world missed a measles vaccine dose in 2021 due to declining disease surveillance and disruptions in immunisation campaigns as countries focused on containing COVID-19.
It seems that the drop in measles vaccination rates in children is already showing consequences. In Columbus, Ohio, two dozen unvaccinated children were infected and nearly half of them were hospitalised as of 22 Nov. This comes after MMR vaccine coverage among Ohio kindergarteners fell from 92.4 per cent during the 2019-2020 school year to 89.6 per cent in the following year.
What to know about measles
Measles, also known as rubeola, is a viral infection that affects the respiratory system. It is highly contagious, where a single case can lead to 12 to 18 infections.
Symptoms of measles that you should look out for:
Tiny white spots inside the mouth
Red blotchy skin rash
Do note that symptoms may not show a day or two after contracting the disease, but he or she continues to be contagious during this time. The virus spreads easily through direct contact with the saliva or mucus of an infected child or adult, whether through coughing, sneezing or contact with contaminated surfaces.
Most patients recover completely from measles. In rare cases, however, measles may cause brain infection (encephalitis) or pneumonia. It may also attack a person’s digestive organs, heart muscle or kidneys.
Protecting your children against measles
Measles infection is more common among children than adults and they are more likely to suffer complications.
6 out of every 100 children with measles develop pneumonia, and one in every 1000 children with measles can get a brain infection as a complication. It is essential to get children, who are at least 12 months of age, vaccinated with 2 doses of the MMR (Measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine for adequate protection against measles.
Children who are Singaporean citizens can be vaccinated for free at our Intemedical clinics under the government VCDSS (Vaccination and Childhood Developmental Screening Subsidies) scheme.
Make an appointment with Intemedical via the following channels:
WhatsApp: 8879 9404
Landline: Potong Pasir - 6242 6384 Kovan - 6243 3036
(Available during clinic opening hours, 8 am to 12 am)