Measles and the importance of vaccination in Chile: HPM recommendations
On 12 August, the Chilean Ministry of Health confirmed an imported case of measles in Chile, a viral disease that has been eradicated in the country since 1993 due to ongoing vaccination campaigns and therefore does not constitute a cause for concern. However, for Dr. Loreto Twele, an infectious disease pediatrician at Puerto Montt Hospital, the news calls for heightened measures against the infection.
Of these, the most important is compliance with the measles vaccination program, represented by Chile’s triple virus vaccine, which, in addition to measles, includes immunity to rubella and mumps, and which is administered twice to boys and girls: a 12 months and 36 months, this is the content of the national immunization plan, according to Dr. Twele, the effective rate is 95%.
“Chile was one of the first countries to achieve high measles vaccination rates, which is why measles was eradicated. The measles vaccine is a good vaccine, given at one year old and three years old, to prevent viral infection, mainly high fever, pink rash , a flu-like picture of stuffy nose and headaches, but complications such as severe pneumonia could develop,” recalls the pediatrician.
However, Dr. Tweiler emphasized that in Chile, a group of people born between 1971 and 1981 received only one dose of the measles vaccine despite the disease being brought under control. In fact, the case reported in Arica this month was a dose of the measles vaccine. Women corresponding to this age group had traveled to Armenia, a country where measles outbreaks are common.
“These people are more likely to get sick. So in Chile every five years there is an intensification campaign and the entire population is given the said dose, because we don’t know who in this group might not have developed antibodies. We call every Whenever there is a measles booster vaccination campaign,” the professional said, adding that the advice also applies to anyone traveling abroad.
“Anyone in this cohort who was born between the ages of 71 and 81 and was planning to travel outside of Chile was told that they had to get a booster vaccine: no medical prescription was required, just showing proof of the vaccine at any vaccination station. Will be traveling outside of Chile. We have eliminated measles infection, but the rest of the world has not, with high rates in the US, Europe and many underdeveloped countries.”
So the main call is to get vaccinated, either twice in childhood, in the first and third years of life; or in infancy. If you are traveling abroad, especially to countries with active cases of measles, especially if you were born between 1971 and 1981.
“For Chileans, because of the vaccine, the possibility of infection spreading to other populations is low, but in any case we must be concerned about those who have been exposed to a measles case and have a sore throat. Head, rash, fever, nasal congestion Health services should be consulted,” concludes Dr Twele.