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Oman measles vaccination campaign a success

Measles campaign covers 92 per cent of residents in Oman in target group

Gulf News

Muscat: Oman’s National Measles Immunisation Campaign has ended, with 92 per cent of residents in the target group vaccinated.

The Ministry of Health said that 98 per cent of Omani nationals and 88 per cent of expatriates have been vaccinated.

The target group for vaccination was residents between the ages of 20 and 35, according to the ministry.

Oman launched the first phase of the National Measles Immunisation campaign in May and covered the southern provinces in Oman, including Dhofar and Wusta regions.

The second phase was launched in September and covered the northern regions in the country, including Muscat, Dhaklyah, Batinah, Dahira, Sharqiyah and Buraimi governorates.

The ministry said earlier that the spike has been caused by the increasing number of expatriates arriving from other countries.

The Oman outbreak coincides with the global epidemic of measles. Measles cases has decreased drastically in Oman from 679 cases in 1981 to a mere 15 cases in 2001, which is largely due to sustained and routine immunisation, awareness campaigns and intensive case-based surveillance.

Oman experienced a rubella outbreak in 1987-’88 with 257 reported cases.

This epidemic resulted in 34 infants with congenital rubella syndrome (CRS).

Measles is a highly contagious virus that spreads through direct contact and through the air.

It can be prevented with a safe and effective vaccine, but due to immunisation gaps remains one of the biggest killers of children worldwide.

The World Health Organisation says measles killed 134,000 in 2015.