Tag Archives: Measles

Cholera, Measles Kill Hundreds:DRC

Outbreaks of measles and cholera in parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo have killed hundreds of people, with thousands more infected, says an official of the UN World Health Organization (WHO).
“Since September 2010, 115,484 measles cases and 1,145 related deaths have been reported in South Kivu, Katanga, Maniema, Kasaï Occidental, Equateur, Bas Congo and Kasaï Oriental provinces,” Tarik Jasarevic, a WHO media and advocacy officer, told IRIN.

According to Jasarevic, a lack of government funding halted follow-up mass immunization activities in the regions, leading to the measles outbreak.

Close to six million children were vaccinated in the most affected areas in April and May, but the epidemic spread to other provinces not covered in the immunization campaign.

Mass immunization campaigns are planned. At least 915,000 children in nine provinces are targeted for vaccination in the first two campaigns scheduled for July.

WHO and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are seeking an additional US$9 million to carry out these two campaigns in September and the first semester of 2012.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease, preventable by immunization. It can cause complications such as blindness, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), severe diarrhoea, ear infections and pneumonia.

Cholera 

Some 1,449 cholera cases and 74 deaths have also been recorded since March in Kisangani, Orientale, with the outbreak spreading along the Congo River to Bandundu and Equateur provinces and to Kinshasa, the capital, Jasarevic said. As of 8 July, 3,245 cholera cases had been reported with 192 deaths.

The International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) is supporting the DRC Red Cross in hygiene promotion activities in the affected provinces, according to a 13 July report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The health ministry and partners are also setting up water chlorination points and providing free cholera treatment to contain the outbreak, said Jasarevic.

Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by the consumption of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. Associated diarrhoea and vomiting can lead to severe dehydration and death without prompt treatment.

The DRC is also grappling with new cases of the wild polio virus, with a total of 62 cases recorded by 7 July, according to Victor Makwenge Kaput, the Minister of Public Health.

[Courtesy of IRIN]

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Somalia: Hiv/Aids Rumours causes Measles Outbreak

NAIROBI, 7 April 2011 (IRIN) – The cause of a measles outbreak in Somalia has yet to be determined but doctors say initial suspicions point to “unfounded rumours” that the vaccine could cause HIV/AIDS in children and interfere with their reproductive abilities.

“There are false rumours creating fear among parents that the vaccination causes HIV/AIDS and can affect a child’s reproductive system,” said Ismail Isse Roble, head of the Bari Medical Association in Bosasso, capital of Somalia’s semi-autonomous region of Puntland.

Roble said most of the children brought to his clinic had not been vaccinated.

“The irony is that most of the affected children are those whose parents can afford medical care,” he said. “Children in IDP [internally displaced persons] camps [in Bosasso] are least affected because they took advantage of the free vaccinations provided.”

According to the UN World Health Organization (WHO) Somalia, 83 cases, including five deaths, were reported in Mogadishu in the past five weeks. Some 127 cases were reported in Puntland, WHO said.

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Congo: Measles Epidemic

29 March 2011 (IRIN) – A cholera outbreak in Katanga Province is likely to exacerbate the measles epidemic that for the past six months has been sweeping through the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Aid workers warn it is now likely to get out of control and spread from five provinces to the rest of the country.

“Children who contract cholera and haven’t received any inoculations against measles will be more vulnerable to the disease. We need to act quickly to control the epidemic,” Ayigan Koffi, health coordinator of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the DRC, told IRIN.

“We are working on ways to increase and better coordinate the response. If nothing is done, the epidemic is likely to spread further,” Koffi told IRIN.

Measles is a highly contagious infection of the respiratory system that is only preventable by vaccination and can be fatal in children if not treated. According to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) data, measles can kill between one and 15 percent of un-vaccinated children who contract the disease and up to 25 percent of malnourished or vulnerable groups with limited access to healthcare.

WHO says the total number of cases since the beginning of the year has reached 6,524 cases, with 33 deaths.

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Liberia: Measles Vaccination Campaign

The Government of Liberia, with support from United Nations agencies, will launch a week-long measles vaccination campaign on Wednesday targeting all children in Nimba County, which hosts over 30,000 refugees who fled the political turmoil in neighbouring Côte d’Ivoire.

As of the end of January, five Liberian children between one and five years old had died of measles, two cases had been confirmed by the UN World Health Organization (WHO), and just over 100 suspected cases had been reported.

As well as a killer disease measles is a major cause of intellectual disabilities in children in developing countries.

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