The impact of declining vaccination coverage on measles control: a case study of Abia state Nigeria
Introduction: Efforts at immunizing children against measles was intensified in Nigeria with nation-wide measles vaccination campaigns in 2005 - 2006, 2008 and 2011 targeting children between 9 and 59 months. However, there were measles outbreaks in 2010 and 2011in Abia state Nigeria. This study seeks to find out if there is any association between measles immunization coverage and measles outbreak.
Methods: This is a descriptive analysis of the 2007 to 2011 Abia state measles case-based surveillance data supplied to Abia state World Health Organization office and Abia State Ministry of Health by the disease surveillance and notification officers.
Results: As the proportion of cases with febrile rash who were immunized decreased from 81% in 2007 to 42% in 2011, the laboratory confirmed cases of measles increased from two in 2007 to 53 in 2011.Of the laboratory confirmed cases of measles, five (7%) occurred in children < 9 months, 48 (64%) occurred in children 9 - 59 months and 22 (29%) occurred in children < 59 months old. Seventy five percent of all laboratory confirmed cases of measles occurred in rural areas.
Conclusion: Efforts should be made to increase measles immunization in children between 9 and 59 months as most cases of measles occurred in this age group as immunization coverage dropped. In addition, further studies should be carried out to determine the cause of the disproportional incidence of measles in rural areas in Abia state bearing in mind that measles immunization coverage in urban and rural areas was not markedly different
Key words: Measles, Immunization, Nigeria