Unvaccinated Migrant Workers Bring Measles Resurgence

Zhuang Pinghui at The South China Morning Post reports that measles, a disease Beijing had planned to eradicate by 2012, is “making a comeback as millions of migrant workers miss out on vaccinations”:

Cases of measles on the mainland hit 11,089 in April compared to 2,070 in January, according to the health ministry. The total was almost as high – 10,563 – in May. In just the first five months of the year, the number of cases reached 35,677, surpassing the 27,646 cases for the whole of last year.

“The outbreak of measles is related to the lack of vaccination. The incidence of measles is likely to rise, mostly in adults, because China has such a large mobile population and many have missed their vaccinations,” said Professor Cai Haodong, an expert in infectious diseases at Beijing Ditan Hospital.

There were 245 million migrant workers, accounting for 18 per cent of the population, at the end of last year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Low awareness among migrants of the need for vaccinations, in addition to the challenge for public health authorities of tracking the mobile population, are key reasons for much lower vaccination rates among migrants. [Source]