MOH Publications

Report on Measles in the Middle East
The rates of measles-related deaths have decreased internationally from about 733000 deaths in 2000 to 164000 in 2008, with a decline percentage of nearly 78%. This achievement was made due to the intensive vaccination campaigns launched against this disease. However, measles is still one of the main reasons that cause the death of children all over the world, reaching about 158000 deaths in the world every year.
It is worth mentioning that there are about 2.5 million children in the region who have not taken the first routine dose of measles vaccine in 2011, although such vaccines are safe, effective, cheap, and available for everyone.
For the above mentioned reason, the Fourth World Immunization Week is to be held this year in the Middle East from 24 to 30 April 2013 under the slogan “Let's Eliminate Measles Now”, with the aim of putting an end to the disease of measles in the region by 2015, widening the scope of cooperation among countries to increase the amount of measles vaccine for children by 90% at least, and raising awareness among the members of societies about the severity of the disease and the benefits gained by children due to vaccination.
The Fourth World Immunization Week will be also a good chance to encourage the organizations located in the region to adopt this World Week and perform many activities.
Immunization is one of the most successful and cost-effective health interventions as it prevents between 2 and 3 million deaths every year. Immunization also protects against debilitating diseases, disabilities and deaths resulting from diseases that can be prevented using vaccines such as diphtheria, hepatitis (a) and (b), measles, mumps, invasive pneumococcal disease, poliomyelitis, and diarrhea caused by rotavirus, tetanus, and yellow fever.
Strenuous efforts are currently conducted to increase the benefits of immunization to include adolescents and adults, in a manner that protects them against diseases posing threats to their lives; such as, influenza, meningitis, and cancers, including cervical cancer, and liver cancer affecting adults.
From this point, The World Health Organization (WHO) endeavors to promote nations to organize the World Immunization Week, educate the public, and exchange information in the light of World Immunization Week; in order to concentrate on the significance of vaccination (immunization) to save lives and encourage families to immunize their kids against fatal diseases.
In the same context, the Media Information and Health Awareness Center at the Ministry of Health (MOH) has issued a statement, identifying the disease of Measles as “a widely spread virus infection that affects children, and resides in the mucus existing n the area of the nose or the mouth of the affected person, and it can be protected using vaccination.”
The symptoms of this disease “emerge between 7 and 14 days after the exposure to the virus, and appear in the form of fever, dry cough, runny nose, hyperemia, conjunctivitis, light sensitization, as well as white patches inside the mouth near the cheek, and rash.”
As for the persons who are more susceptible to the disease of measles, the report says they are “people who are not vaccinated against measles, and non-vaccinated people travelling to the developing countries, where measles spreads, and people suffering from vitamin a deficiency.”
The report of the Media Information and Health Awareness Center highlighted, “the most common complications occur in the form of bacterial infection of the ear, problems for the pregnant woman, including pregnancy loss, premature birth, or a lack of the newborn weight at birth, and bronchitis; given that, measles can lead to inflammation of larynx or interior walls lining the main bronchi of the lungs, as well as pneumonia, a common condition for Measles, and encephalitis. Besides, measles can lead to a decrease in the amount of blood platelets (a type of blood cells that are essential for clotting).
The report stressed that "there is no effective and final treatment for the patient; however, there are some procedures that protect others from infection. People surrounding the patient as well as children are to be vaccinated with measles vaccine in a period not exceeding 72 hours after their exposure to infection, to protect them against measles."
In the case of infection, the symptoms are less severe and last for a shorter time. Pregnant women, children and adults with weakened immune systems may receive an injection of antibodies within six days of exposure to the virus; these antibodies can prevent measles or make symptoms less severe.
It is important for the measles patient to be isolated from the others within the four days preceding or following the breakout of the rash. The measles patient should receive the measles vaccine to be protected against the disease. It is worth mentioning that if you develop measles, your body recognizes the virus and builds up its immune system to fight the infection, and so you can't get measles again.
On this occasion, the MOH Information Center has, as usual, expressed its readiness for receiving the inquiries and questions of citizens and residents with respect to the disease of measles and its symptoms, the way of protecting against such a disease, and the diseases against which children are vaccinated.
It is worth mentioning that the Ministry will recruit a group of specialists to answer the questions of callers and concerned people with regard to vaccinations, times of taking doses, and other inquiries concerning vaccinations via the toll-free number (8002494444) allocated by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to receive inquires, and provide more information that attracts the attention of patient and healthy people alike.
The Ministry has also trained a professional team to answer your questions via MOH account on Twitter: @SAUDIMOH.

Last Update : 14 May 2013 12:49 AM
Reading times :