On Monday and Tuesday (21 and 22), in the hall of the State Health Secretariat (SES), a meeting was held to discuss the rehabilitation process to eliminate measles in the state of Rio de Janeiro, with the participation of the Organization of American States. Health Organization (PAHO) and Ministry of Health. Disease control measures were intensified in August, with the establishment of an operating room. The state is completing 90 days without registering cases, after receiving two notifications this year and three in 2021.
The SES team works with the aim of supporting municipalities in strengthening the epidemiological surveillance of measles, with the aim of timely detection of suspected cases and confirmation of the disease; and assisting in immunization procedures on their lands. Technical visits are carried out all over the country. One of the main challenges in the fight is maintaining systematic and constant surveillance.
The meeting was attended by representatives of SES, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Ministry of Health, the Special Secretariat for Indigenous Health, Fiocruz, the Central Public Health Laboratory Noel Nautiles, and the Municipal Health Secretariat from Rio de Janeiro, among other technicians and specialists. The epidemiological surveillance, immunization and primary care teams provided ongoing scenarios and actions. A technical commission from the Municipality of Rio de Janeiro revealed the structure of the municipal health monitoring network, the main measures adopted to confront the disease and the capital’s planning for the continuity of care.
The recent history of measles
In September 2016, the measles virus was declared eliminated in the Americas region. In 2018, there was an outbreak, starting in the north of the country, which is still in the five Brazilian regions. After 12 months of circulating the virus, Brazil lost the title of disease-free country. Also in 2018, the state of Rio de Janeiro also experienced an outbreak and, as of 2019, again presents a large number of confirmed cases. In 2020, there has been a significant increase in reported cases.
Rio de Janeiro is one of four states in the country where cases of the disease were recorded in 2022. One of the problems is low vaccination coverage, which, according to a survey in August, amounted to 44.53%. In at least 11 municipalities, the proportion does not reach 25%. The teams are doing a quick monitoring of the coverage in the municipal areas.
This year, from January 1 to August 31, 2022, 164 suspected measles cases were reported among the state’s residents: 2 confirmed cases, 147 ruled out and 14 under investigation. Only two of the 92 municipalities have a vaccination coverage of more than 95% against the disease caused by a highly transmissible respiratory virus for which a vaccine has been available since the 1960s.
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