A quarter of children in Bangladesh need more than single doses of the measles vaccine to be protected against the disease, say findings of a local research, supporting the government’s five-year-old double-dose approach.
About 20 million people across the world are affected by the highly contagious vaccine preventable viral disease and about 242,000 people die from it every year.
The disease, which spreads quickly in a population in the absence of proper immunisation, is also the fifth largest cause of death globally among children below five years of age, reports News Medical.
In 2005, the number of measles cases in Bangladesh was nearly 26,000. This, however, had decreased to approximately 2,660 cases in 2008 after the Measles Catch-up Campaign.
But the research conducted by Dr Sharmin Sultana, medical officer of Virology Department at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University in Dhaka, and her colleagues Shahina Tabassum, Afzalun Nessa and Munira Jahan has shown that immunisation programmes based on single doses of the vaccine are not sufficient.
They found that about one quarter of the children who had just a single dose of the vaccine was not totally immunised, says the News Medical report.
The research and its findings were published in Bangladesh Journal of Medical Microbiology in an article titled "Antibody Responses in Bangladeshi Children Following Measles Vaccination".
Although children were vaccinated against measles, many of them had not developed antibody response, found the study conducted among 77 children of different age groups who had been administered with a single dose of the vaccine.
"In my research, I found that children had not been fully immunised by the single dose of the measles vaccine and that they required a second dose of vaccination to be better immunised," Sharmin told International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications.
The study showed that around 25% children remained antibody negative for measles even after 93% coverage of measles vaccination indicating huge challenges ahead for measles eradication from Bangladesh.
Fortunately, said Sharmin, Bangladesh already made second dose of measles vaccination compulsory in 2012.
She added that with the introduction of the second dose of the vaccine, Bangladesh now stands a better chance of eliminating measles by the year 2020.
Sharmin also plans to conduct a follow-up research soon to assess the efficacy of the vaccination after the administration of a second dose.