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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


MOREIRA, Luiza A. Cabus; CARVALHO, Fernando Martins; SILVANY-NETO, Annibal Muniz  and  PERES, Maria Fernanda Tourinho. Knowledge of pediatricians in Salvador, Brazil, about measles vaccine. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 1997, vol.2, n.6, pp.373-377. ISSN 1680-5348.

The success of international initiatives for the eradication of measles depends in large part on knowledge about vaccination. In 1992, a cross-sectional study was carried out to evaluate knowledge about measles vaccine among pediatricians in the Brazilian city of Salvador, Bahia. Of the 506 pediatricians residing in the city, 299 (59%) could be located and responded to a questionnaire containing 15 questions that posed hypothetical situations regarding indications and contraindications for this vaccine. The average number of correct responses was 9.3 out of 15, which illustrates the pediatricians' poor knowledge of measles vaccine. Conditions commonly seen in pediatric practice in Brazil-malnutrition, upper respiratory tract infection, diarrhea, and prematurity-were often erroneously considered contraindications for immunization. More than half (62%) of the pediatricians did not know the correct way to administer the vaccine. Knowledge about the vaccine did not differ according to the length of time that had elapsed since the physicians' university training in pediatrics or as a result of working in health centers operated by the State Health Secretariat. University professors, pediatricians with a postgraduate degree, and those pursuing postgraduate studies scored slightly higher than the rest. These results point to the need to strengthen training on measles vaccination in medical schools and programs of continuing education for pediatricians.

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