There is substantial risk of epidemics of measles in camps (Toole et al., 1989; Toole, 1995; Connolly et al., 2004; Wilder-Smith, 2005). The mortality rate in stable populations is about 1 percent, but may be as high as 33 percent in natural disasters (Toole, 1995). Transmission of the virus is promoted by crowding combined with poor national rates for vaccination. For the refugee camp in Sudan in 1985, this infection accounted for 53 percent of deaths (Connolly et al., 2004). These rates decreased with subsequent disasters as a result of increased awareness and expanded immunization plans (Toole et al., 1989; Toole, 1995). Nevertheless, there are many countries that still are far behind in national measles vaccination coverage. With natural disaster in such areas, immunization for measles should receive a high priority - in fact, this is probably second only in importance to the provision of adequate food (Toole et al., 1989). Children aged six months to five years should be immunized on entry to a camp or settlement if possible. If supplies of vaccine are inadequate, the highest priority should be given to children who are considered undernourished, since they are the most vulnerable to lethal outcome.

Disaster Preparedness Kit

Disaster Preparedness Kit

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