- Burkina Faso
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- D.R. Congo
- Equatorial Guinea
- Guinea Bissau
- Ivory Coast
- São Tomé and Príncipe
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- South Sudan
Wednesday, January 08, 2020
Measles in the Congo
The measles virus has killed almost three times as many people in DR Congo as any Ebola outbreak.
The World Health Organization announced that the death toll from the Democratic Republic of Congo's measles epidemic has surpassed 6,000, making it the world's worst outbreak of the highly contagious disease.
The United Nations agency said that a lack of funds, low routine vaccination coverage as well as malnutrition were inhibiting the response to save lives and control the outbreak in the country.
They also said that weak public health systems and problems accessing vulnerable populations in the country have also "aggravated" the measles crisis.
Some 310,000 suspected cases of the measles have been reported in the central African country since the beginning of 2019. The WHO has worked with local authorities to vaccinate more than 18 million children there under the age of five.
However, in some parts of the country, particularly in remote areas, routine vaccination coverage remains low and 25% of the reported measles cases are in children over the age of five, who are the most vulnerable.
Vaccination rates also remain low in areas where armed groups operate.
“We are doing our utmost to bring this epidemic under control. Yet to be truly successful we must ensure that no child faces the unnecessary risk of death from a disease that is easily preventable by a vaccine," said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
Contracting the deadly disease can lead to pneumonia, brain swelling and long-term disabilities.