Measles among immigrant children in Kirikkale, Turkey
Measles is still a leading cause of death among young children. For 2013, there were 31 520 measles cases reported in the European Region. Turkey is one of the nine countries where most of the cases were reported (7404 cases). According to the Ministry of Health (MH), all of these cases were outsourcing (mostly from Europe and Syria). Among all, 55, 1% of the cases were under 14 years of age and 36, 9% were unvaccinated. Turkish MH organized an extensive vaccination campaign in refugee camps where Syrian children were living. However, out of 800.000 Syrian immigrants 600.000 don’t live in these camps. Currently, receiving the vaccination within a recommended age period has become an important issue in many countries. A certain proportion of the target population lacking timely vaccination could contribute a measles outbreak, even if the overall coverage of that country was high.
Methods: This is a case-series of five measles cases followed between January 2014-February 2014.
Results: There are not many Syrian immigrants live in Kırıkkale (a province in the middle of Anatolia) but, five measles cases (four were in 0-4 age group and one was 14 years old) were followed.Serological investigation confirmed the diagnosis of measles in all cases. They were all from the same extended family migrated from the South-East region of Turkey. This region is close to the Syrian border and also measles is still exists as a severe problem due to very low socioeconomic status. Common characteristics of our reported patients were being under nutrition, unvaccinated and living in the same crowded house.
Access to health care for medically uninsured immigrant children is a public health concern. Immigrant children are vulnerable to many risk factors and face a number of health problems related to their living conditions. The vaccination coverage of migrant children is much lower than that of local children, mainly as a result of migrants’ high mobility, low socioeconomic status, lower level of knowledge and awareness about vaccination, and insufficient access to vaccination services. Therefore, to avoid outbreaks, it is crucial to attain high coverage levels by timely vaccination, thus, a systematic approach should be targeted to high-risk groups like immigrant and refugee children.
S. F. Bulbul,