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Measles in Pakistan (Update)

13 Jun 2012

The media in Pakistan has reported on the measles situation. There are concerns that as many as 21 000 children could contract measles by the end of the year. Around 2143 confirmed cases of measles have been reported across the country to date.

A total of 737 measles cases have been reported from Sindh, followed by 648 from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 582 cases from Punjab, 102 from Balochistan, 49 from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and 14 cases from Islamabad.

It is estimated that the number of confirmed cases is double that reported. Officials believe measles remains underreported by most provinces/districts.

The Federal Expanded Programme on Immunisation ministry is ready to resume a measles follow-up campaign in the districts not yet covered. Following the recent outbreaks, the agencies of Fata and districts of Balochistan have been prioritised. Unicef has secured vaccines for these districts/agencies and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has agreed to provide the operational cost.

Pakistan remains one of the most important countries worldwide for measles elimination activities. The WHO estimates that every year approximately 2.1 million children are infected with measles in Pakistan.

Advice for Travellers

It should be confirmed that children have received their recommended doses of MMR at 12-15 months of age and again pre-school around 3 years 6 months, while unimmunised adults who have not had the disease themselves may consider vaccination if thought to be at risk. Two doses of MMR vaccine are required to give adequate protection.