Thousands more fall ill in Moldovan mumps epidemic
Vaccines secured thanks to a UNICEF, World Health Organisation and World Bank joint initiative
Chisinau, Moldova, February 22 - More than 7,500 children have contracted mumps in Moldova, as the country’s epidemic continues for a second month.
Last week alone, a record number of cases were registered, 2,014 compared with 1,656 a week earlier.
According to the latest Ministry of Health figures, a total number of more than 7,500 children and young people have been affected by the epidemic so far. The epidemic has reached practically all regions of the country with the capital, Chisinau, the worst affected. There, young people studying in colleges and universities are particularly vulnerable.
According to WHO and national experts, the only way to stop this mumps epidemic is to re-vaccinate the population at risk, of which the majority are children. To carry out the campaign, the Moldovan Ministry of Health needs 600,000 doses of vaccines.
The government has already ordered 100,000 doses of mumps vaccine and these are expected to arrive within the coming week. Another 210,000 vaccine doses will be purchased with funds offered by the World Bank and with the technical and logistical support of UNICEF.
Most new cases (80%) are registered among young people aged 15-24, who were vaccinated with only one dose of vaccine, according to the vaccination schedule in place before the year 2002.
The infection is notorious for its complications, of which the most severe is male sterility. Half of those infected in Moldova have had to be hospitalised in order to contain the infection. To try to cope with the increasing number of hospital patients, the government has provided extra hospital beds but this measure is still inadequate faced with the rising demand.
For more information contact UNICEF Moldova Media Officer, Lina Bornaru, on + 373 22 220045