Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Measles cases rise sharply

Measles cases rise sharply

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A health worker administers a measles vaccination to children in Phnom Penh in 2016. Heng Chivoan

Measles cases rise sharply

Cambodia has recorded 341 measles cases in the first four months of this year, a significant increase from just 44 cases in the same period last year.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed the total on Monday and reported that 65 per cent of those infected had not been vaccinated.

“During the pandemic, it is more important than ever to maintain routine immunisation services to protect children and the community or face the risk of an increase in vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks like measles,” said WHO Representative to Cambodia Dr Li Ailan.

Measles has surged globally in recent years. Although Cambodia received its measles elimination status in 2015, it is not immune from a resurgence, it said.

WHO reports that most Cambodians are immunised at health centres and hospitals, which conduct routine immunisations according to regular schedules.

Still, along with measles, Cambodia also faces rubella and pertussis outbreaks. Officials warn that children must be immunised from these diseases to avoid additional strain on the public health system during the pandemic.

The Cambodia Ministry of Health established the National Immunisation Programme (NIP) to expand Cambodia’s immunisation services in 2000.

The programme promotes the wellbeing of all Cambodians by controlling, eliminating or eradicating targeted vaccine-preventable diseases.

NIP, WHO, UNICEF and other partners work together closely to coordinate the programme’s immunisation activities.

Those organisations and other partners also visit communities to conduct catch-up vaccinations and reach children that are less likely to visit health centres and hospitals, such as in Cham and Vietnamese communities.

The teams also advise the communities to learn about how to protect themselves from Covid-19, said the WHO.

The Ministry of Health’s NIP manager Ork Vichit declined to comment on Tuesday, referring questions to ministry spokesperson Or Vandine and Ly Sovann. But the two officials did not respond to The Post by press time.

Measles is highly contagious and predominantly responsible for acute respiratory diseases.

WHO said most who die from measles are children under the age of five.

From 2000 to 2018, the vaccine against measles saved the lives of more than 23 million people throughout the world, it said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the