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Measles in Lebanon

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29 May 2018 – Despite the availability of a safe, effective and free vaccine in the primary health care centres and dispensaries, Lebanon remains endemic to measles virus (genotype D8) and outbreaks are expected periodically every 4 to 5 years. Measles outbreaks pose a serious challenge to the global WHO elimination efforts. Data show an increasing trend in measles cases with 39 cases reported in 2015, 44 in 2016, 126 in 2017 and 459 so far in 2018 – a typical trend observed in countries prior to a measles outbreak. 

The latest measles outbreak in Lebanon was in 2013 with 1760 confirmed cases detected. Since the beginning of 2018, the epidemiological surveillance unit at the Ministry of Public Health has noticed a significant increase in measles cases with 496 reported rash cases, of which 459 (92.5%) were classified as measles cases. There is a potential of under-reporting of sub-clinical measles cases as almost 90% of reported cases are clinical: 56% from hospitals, and 31% from mobile clinics/units. A total of 75 cases (16%) were laboratory-confirmed, 57 (12%) epi-linked, and 327 (71%) clinically confirmed.

Read the latest situation report, 22 May 2018

Key health-related statistics

Total population (000) 4421
Total health expenditure (as % of general government expenditure) 10.7
Maternal mortality (per 100 000 live births) 15
Primary health care units and centres (2010) 2.5
Life expectancy 76.3

Source: Framework for health information systems and core indicators for monitoring health situation and health system performance, 2018

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