Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Measles - the Congo's Killer Disease

While some anti-vaxxers refuse the MMR inoculations to safe-guard their children from measles,  in the Democratic Republic of Congo, its government has declared an epidemic of measles, which the latest health ministry figures show has now killed at least 1,500 people in the first five months of 2019, the highest since 2012, which was the deadliest measles epidemic of the last decade. 

More than 10,000 cases of cholera have been reported in the country since the start of the year, leading to 240 deaths. Meanwhile, 1,384 people have died of the Ebola virus since it was first reported in the east of the country last August, the second deadliest outbreak of the disease in global history. But measles has proved deadlier than either, in part because it is even harder to contain. One of the world’s most contagious diseases, the measles virus can live in the air when’re an infected person has coughed or sneezed for up to two hours.

Although measles kills in only about 2 per cent of cases, the young are most likely to suffer complications from the virus and the vast majority of Congo’s fatalities have been children aged under five, health workers say.
While the world's media focused on the Ebola virus, at least 87,000 suspected measles cases have been reported in 23 of Congo’s 26 provinces since January, a 700 per cent increase compared with the same period last year. 

Medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) called for “a massive mobilization of all relevant national and international organizations in order to vaccinate more children and treat patients affected by the disease.” 

Thankfully, the misinformation campaigns of the anti-vaxxers have so far not taken root and hopefully never will.

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