Tag Archives: Measles

DR Congo free from deadly ‘measles’

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The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Tuesday declared the end of a 25-month outbreak of measles that claimed the lives of more than 7,000 children aged under five.

The outbreak was countered by vaccination on a massive scale, in which millions of children and infants were immunised.

“For the past month, we are able to say that this epidemic has been eliminated from across our territory,” Health Minister Eteni Longondo told a press conference.

“We can say that measles (in the DRC) no longer exists.”

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that attacks mainly children. The most serious complications include blindness, brain swelling, diarrhoea, and severe respiratory infections.

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Once common, the disease has been rolled back around the world thanks to a cheap and effective vaccine, but low rates of immunisation among a community can cause infection to spread quickly.

“The measles epidemic was unfolding at low level but was the deadliest. It carried off more than 7,000 of our children,” Longondo said.

Routine vaccinations will continue in order to prevent the virus from bouncing back, he added.

The first cases of measles in the latest outbreak were recorded in June 2018. As of January this year, the WHO had recorded more than 335,000 suspected cases of the disease, of which 6,362 were fatal.

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By way of comparison, the DRC — a vast country the size of continental western Europe — has recorded 9,891 cases of coronavirus, of which 251 were fatal.

An outbreak of Ebola in the east of the country, which was declared over on June 25 after nearly two years, killed 2,287 people.

The announcement in Kinshasa came ahead of an expected declaration Tuesday by the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) that wild poliovirus has been eradicated from Africa.

Health teams have been fighting to wipe out polio’s last vestiges on the continent, in northeastern Nigeria, where jihadists said vaccination was a conspiracy to sterilise young Muslims.


#Newsworthy…

WHO declares Maldives, Sri Lanka free from Measles

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Measles and rubella have been eradicated from Sri Lanka and the Maldives after decades of immunisation programmes, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

“Coming at a time when the entire world is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, this success is encouraging and demonstrates the importance of joint efforts,” WHO regional director Khetrapal Singh said in a statement.

The Maldives recorded its last endemic case of measles in 2009 and rubella in October 2015, the global health body said.

Sri Lanka’s last endemic cases of measles and rubella were reported in May 2016 and March 2017 respectively, it added.

There has been no evidence of endemic transmission of the two viruses for over three years “in the presence of a well performing surveillance system,” the WHO said.

Bhutan, North Korea and East Timor were also declared to be measles-free.

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The declarations came amid measles outbreaks in developed countries, including the United States.

This picture taken on April 24, 2020 shows a sign of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva next to their headquarters, amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

An anti-vaxxer movement in the US and elsewhere has surged with the social media-fuelled rise of conspiracy theories.

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted healthcare systems in South Asia and Southeast Asia, the WHO added, including immunisation and surveillance programmes.

It said it was committed to supporting member countries and partners “fully revive” such activities.


#Newsworthy…

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United Nations: OVER 117 million children at risk of Measles.


More than 117 million children across the world risk contracting measles as an effect of Coronavirus, the United Nations has warned.

Following the outbreak of the pandemic, countries are putting their vaccination programme for measles and other diseases on hold to face the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the AFP.

Currently, 24 countries, including several already dealing with large measles outbreaks, have suspended widespread vaccinations, the World Health Organisation and UNICEF said.

An additional 13 countries have had their vaccination programmes interrupted due to COVID-19.

In a joint statement, the Measles and Rubella Initiative said it was vital that immunisation capacity was retained during and after the current pandemic.

The statement reads, “Together, more than 117 million children could be impacted by the suspension of scheduled immunisation activities.

“The M&RI supports the need to protect communities and health workers from COVID-19 through a pause of mass campaigns where risks of the disease are high.

“However, this should not mean that children permanently miss out.”

Measles affects around 20 million people every year, the majority of whom are aged under five.


#Newsworthy…