By Bethany Blankley (Center Square)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that medical professionals and clinicians be vigilant against infectious diseases among Afghans recently brought into the country, including measles, mumps and rubella, for which Americans have already been vaccinated.
Following the CDC’s announcement, Pentagon Press Secretary John F.
“All incoming Afghans now need to be vaccinated against measles as a condition of their humanitarian parole. And there are critical vaccines like MMR for Afghans in safe havens at military bases in the United States, ”Kirby said. MMR vaccines will also be administered abroad, he said.
As of September 20, the CDC had been notified of four confirmed cases of confirmed measles and mumps, including one among Afghan nationals and one U.S. citizen who had recently returned from Afghanistan. Earlier this month, Afghans contracted measles in Fort Bliss, Wisconsin.
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The CDC reports that 124,000 people, including about 4,000 Americans, have been evacuated from Afghanistan so far. The CDC reports that many of them “live in areas with limited access to healthcare and vaccinations and have lived nearby for a long time, increasing the risk of spreading the disease.”
All those who were confirmed to have measles were isolated and cared for, and those with whom they had contact were also segregated. Those who were not immune were given the MMR vaccine or immunoglobulin if they were not vaccinated.
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The CDC says immigrants in the United States must be vaccinated with MMR and complete a 21-day separation from the time of immunization at the designated place. Eviction flights to the United States from designated locations and other countries have been temporarily suspended to facilitate MMR administration and post-vaccination quarantine efforts.
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Despite these efforts, the CDC expects the possibility of additional measles infections and outbreaks among displaced people based on ongoing infections and low vaccine coverage (approximately 0%) in Afghanistan. Public health officials have been instructed to look for people with symptoms of infectious diseases, isolate them and track information to manage the spread of the disease.
Particular attention should be paid to communities near military bases that are home to displaced people: Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia; Fort Pickett, Virginia; Fort Lee, Virginia; Holoman Air Force Base, New Mexico; Fort McCoy, Wisconsin; Fort Bliss, Texas; Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey; And Camp Etterbury, Indiana.
According to the CDC, evacuations also increase the risk of gastrointestinal infections, including shigellosis, giardiasis, cryptosporidiosis, hepatitis A, rotavirus, and viral diarrhea. The CDC said it was also aware of some cases of varicella, mumps, tuberculosis, malaria, leishmaniasis, hepatitis A and Covid-19.
Afghanistan ranks seventh in the world in measles, the CDC said. “Measles patients can spread the virus to others from four days to four days before the rash appears. An infected person can become infected very quickly after leaving an area and in an infected person. Measles outbreaks in refugee camps and other gathering environments have high morbidity and mortality (up to 34%).
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In 2000, the United States announced the eradication of measles. However, travelers continue to bring measles, which poses an ongoing risk for unvaccinated people.
Syndicated with permission from Center Square.