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Expanding the age of eligibility for measles vaccination could increase childhood survival in Africa
Date:8/26/2014

PRINCETON, N.J.Expanding the age of eligibility for measles vaccination from 12 to 15 months could have potentially large effects on coverage in Africa, according to a new report published by Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

If combined with improvements to the vaccination process itself, such a change could help the country inch closer to the national coverage levels required for measles eradication. The findings were published in Epidemiology & Infection.

"The age of routine vaccination is usually set to around 12 months, but if measles is fairly well controlled, then unvaccinated children especially living in remote regions tend to be infected at ages later than that," said lead author C. Jessica Metcalf, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and public affairs. "What we are imagining is simply that if kids turn up who are older than the chosen threshold, they should still be given the opportunity for vaccination. This may be the easiest to policy to implement because it doesn't involve infrastructure changes."

Measles one of the most contagious diseases in the world continues to plague impoverished countries, and the World Health Organizations (WHO) currently has ambitious measles elimination goals. While the disease is controlled in the United States through frequent MMR vaccinations (measles, mumps and rubella), countries like Africa do not have the same access to care. Despite successes in ramping up vaccinations, significant outbreaks continue to plague Africa, putting millions at risk.

With this in mind, Metcalf and her collaborators which includes the Wilson School's Bryan Grenfell, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and public affairs wanted to determine why there are inequities in terms of measles vaccination coverage across the African continent. They knew geography played a role, but they wanted to better understand the
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Contact: B. Rose Huber
brhuber@princeton.edu
609-258-0157
Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
Source:Eurekalert

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