Ecuador to Launch Phased Measles Vaccination Drive

Quito, Oct 14. -Ecuadorian Health Minister David Chiriboga informed in a press conference on Thursday that six million USD will be allocated to check a measles outbreak countrywide through a paced vaccination campaign.The first stage will begin with the arrival of 1.20 million doses for children from six months to five years of age.

In November, countrywide vaccination will be extended to children from five to 15 years of age when a second consignment of three million doses arrives.

Chiriboga informed that 200,000 doses are currently available in the country, and 240,000 more are expected to arrive from Panama, and another 50,000 from Colombia.

"The country has been very successful in providing high immunization coverage of nearly 95 percent for several years, and autoctonous cases of measles have been put under control," he said.

"The measles vaccine is 95-98 percent effective and does not represent a health risk if a new dose is applied to a child," said Chiriboga.

At least 89 cases of measles have been confirmed so far in Ecuador, including 84 in Tungurahua, four in Pichincha and one in Guayas.

"Measles is a highly contagious viral disease, and the genotype B3 that circulates in Africa and the United States has been the one identified in Ecuador. It is not an African strain, as stated by some media reports," said Chiriboga. (Prensa Latina)