25th July 2024
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Nzara: Measles outbreak kills 9 children in two months

Author: Baria Johnson | Published: March 25, 2024

Map of Western Equatoria State. | Courtesy.

At least nine children have died from measles in Nzara County of Western Equatoria State since February, health authorities said, as the underfunded local facility grapples to contain the outbreak.

Nzara County Health Director Zaferino Gizaza said four cases of the disease were first reported in January 2024, before the outbreak intensified from February to date.

Mr. Gizaza said nine death cases have so far been registered among children aged between 3 and 5 years old.

“The measles case started in January mildly but continued to intensify from February up to now. The first confirmation was four cases that brought up the outbreak,” he said.

He said 55 cases mainly among children are currently being treated at the county primary health care center.

“The number of deaths is 9 from 3-5 years of age. Currently, we have very many children sick in the hospital. 55 are sick mostly among children few elder people.”

Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus, according to World Health Organization.

It spreads easily when an infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes. It can cause severe disease, complications, and even death, WHO says, adding that the virus can affect anyone although it is most common in children.

A similar outbreak has also been declared in neighboring Tambura County in February as authorities recorded overwhelming cases with more than 70 critically ill patients hospitalized in one week alone.

Tambura Commissioner Mattha Mabenge said in an Eye Radio interview that local health facilities are unable to contain the spread of the virus due to lack of medicine.

Gizaza encourages local communities to report children with symptoms of the disease to the health facility.

“We have not really put strict measures in place, but we have tried to control and talked to people in the villages that whenever a child or anybody is presenting symptoms relative to measles let them come to the hospital.”

“I was with the state Ministry of health in Yambio, and that issue was raised by the state ministry of health. So, we are looking forwards when that is going to take place.”

Measles infects the respiratory tract and then spreads throughout the body. Symptoms include a high fever, cough, runny nose and a rash all over the body.

Being vaccinated is the best way to prevent getting sick with measles or spreading it to other people.

An estimated 128,000 people died from measles around the world in 2021 – mostly children under the age of five years, despite the availability of a safe and cost-effective vaccine.




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