The total number of measles cases recorded by them has doubled to 43 in the past week. Most of the persons infected with the highly contagious virus are children, according to the Ministry of Health. Seventeen patients have been hospitalized so far.
“We have not yet gone beyond the bounds of a local outbreak,” Health Minister Anahit Avanesian told reporters on Thursday. “But we will have a clearer picture of the trend at the end of the week.”
Vaccination is the most effective way of preventing the spread of the acute respiratory disease. Armenian children have long received two doses of a measles vaccine: the first at 12 months of age and a second between 4 and 6 years old.
The South Caucasus country’s vaccination rate is estimated at 95 percent, which should be enough to prevent a nationwide epidemic.
In recent days, the Ministry of Health has repeatedly urged unvaccinated Armenians to get inoculated against measles.
In a joint report released last November, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warned of “an imminent threat of measles spreading to different regions around the world” because of a “steady decline in vaccination coverage and weakened surveillance of the disease” caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The WHO already recorded last year an increase in large measles outbreaks around the world.