Qatar safe from measles outbreak: Official

Qatar is safe from the growing measles outbreak in the US and some other countries, according to a senior official. The disease has been controlled in the country as result of the strong national immunization programme, said Dr Muna Al Maslamani, Medical Director of Communicable Disease Center.

“In Qatar we don’t have measles outbreak in 2019 because of the strict implementation of recommended routine measles vaccination for all children in the country based on national immunization strategy,” she told The Peninsula.

“We have only sporadic cases, around four cases, this year and most likely they were imported from travellers coming to the country. So we recommended implementing national children and adult vaccination schedule to protect community from serious diseases and also prevent the spread of those diseases to others,” said Dr Al Maslamani, who is also the Assistant Head of Infectious Diseases Division, Medicine Department at Hamad General Hospital

Regarding measles outbreak in the US there is an increase in numbers from January 1 to July 18, a total of 1,148  individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 30 states and this is most likely due to majority of people who got measles were unvaccinated.

“Measles is still common in many parts of the world, travellers with measles continue to bring the disease into the US, measles can spread when it reaches a community in the US where groups of people are unvaccinated,” said Dr Al Maslamani.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), measles cases have continued to climb into 2019. Preliminary global data shows that reported cases rose by 300 percent in the first three months of 2019, compared to the same period in 2018. This follows consecutive increases over the past two years. Many countries are in the midst of sizeable measles outbreaks, with all regions of the world experiencing sustained rises in cases.

Current outbreaks include Congo, Ethiopia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Myanmar, Philippines, Sudan, Thailand and Ukraine, causing many deaths – mostly among young children.

Over recent months, spikes in case numbers have also occurred in countries with high overall vaccination coverage, including the US as well as Thailand and Tunisia, as the disease has spread fast among clusters of unvaccinated people, said a WHO report. 

As seen on Peninsula Qatar  Image Credits Peninsula Qatar