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Oman offers free vaccinations amid measles outbreak

Measles cases have drastically decreased in the country; current outbreak coincides with a global epidemic

Gulf News

Muscat: Oman’s Health Ministry is launching a national immunisation campaign against measles, mumps and rubella amid a recent outbreak of measles cases.

Nationals and residents alike, between the ages of 20 to 35, are eligible to receive free vaccinations for the three viruses.

The campaign will begin on May 14.

The ministry says 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, awarenesscampaigns and intensive case-based surveillance.

Oman experienced a rubella outbreak in 1987—1988 with 257 reported rubella 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.

In the 12 months from March 1, 2016, to February 28, 2017, a total of 5,881 cases of measles were reported in Europe.

Romania accounted for 46 per cent of those, while 24 per cent were in Italy and 9 per cent in Britain.