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According to the Iran Front Page, Iran’s deputy health minister says 164 measles cases have been detected in the country blaming it on the influx of Afghan refugees into Iran.

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Kamal Heidari said the entry of Afghan nationals into Iran and their presence in different cities have caused concern and cases of measles have been reported in those areas.

Heidari said the outbreak is threatening the efforts of Iran to contain measles, adding that a vaccination plan must be put in place for foreigners to boost the level of inoculation against the disease.

Afghanistan has been experiencing a measles resurgence that started at the beginning of 2021. From January 2021 to 13 March 2022, there have been 48,366 cases and 250 deaths. In 2022 alone, there have been over 18,000 cases and 142 children have died of measles in the country.

The low routine measles immunization coverage of 66% and a longer interval since the measles follow-up campaign in 2018 have resulted in accumulation of the high number of children aged less than 5 years old with no measles immunization.
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Measles is an extremely contagious viral disease. Unvaccinated young children are at highest risk. Severe measles is more likely among poorly nourished young children, especially those with insufficient vitamin A, or those whose immune systems have been weakened by other diseases.

The best way to protect people – especially children – from measles is to strengthen routine immunization to ensure that at least 95% of the population has received 2 doses of the vaccine.