immunization policies insufficient to counter the epidemic

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While there is a resurgence of measles, a study shows that current health policies are insufficient to ensure a level of immunization "safe" among populations.

The World with AFP Posted today at 22h27

Time to Reading 2 min.

Current immunization policies in developed countries will not stop the resurgence of measles observed in recent years, says a study published Friday, May 17, which recommends mandatory vaccination of children before they enter primary school.

The World Health Organization (WHO) sounded the alarm in April, when measles cases, a highly contagious viral disease, quadrupled in the first quarter of 2019 compared with the same period in the first half of the year. 'last year. This recrudescence mainly affects people who have not been or have been inadequately vaccinated.

While the majority of infections occur in conflict-affected countries or with poor access to care, many developed countries also face a sharp increase in the number of cases, a phenomenon that experts attribute to mistrust of vaccines in general. and MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) in particular.

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"Safety" threshold

Researchers at the Bruno Kessler Foundation in Trento, Italy, computer-modeled the measles situation in seven rich countries in 2050, according to different vaccination scenarios. In almost all the countries studied (United Kingdom, United States, Ireland, Australia and Italy), the health policies as they exist today are insufficient to guarantee a level of immunization " sure " among the populations until 2050, they conclude.

According to their analysis, the proportion of unvaccinated persons is already above the "Safety" 7.5% in Italy, where several outbreaks have been reported in recent months. In the United Kingdom, where 3.7% of the population is currently not vaccinated against measles, this proportion could rise to 8% in 2050 without modification of current health programs.

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"It's very difficult to predict future outbreaks", says Filippo Trentini, co-author of the study, published in the newspaper BMC Medicine. But "Our results suggest that, given current levels of immunization coverage," routine "programs will not be enough to maintain the high level of immunity needed for the next decades"he adds. According to the WHO, the proportion of unvaccinated people in a given country should not exceed 6% to 8% to avoid major epidemics.

Vaccination at the entrance to the school

"These countries would certainly benefit from the introduction of school-based immunization in addition to the current immunization programs", Judge Piero Poletti, also co-author of the study. A vaccination obligation for children, such as those recently decided in France and Italy, must, however, be accompanied by increased awareness of public health to be effective, he adds.

Measles, characterized by the eruption of red spots on the skin, is often benign. However, it can lead to serious complications, respiratory (pulmonary infections) and neurological (encephalitis), in some fatal cases especially in fragile people.

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