Measles kills 20 in Manicaland
Health Ministry embarks on door-to-to education campaign
THE measles outbreak in Manicaland has so far claimed 20 lives out of over 100 reported cases, prompting health workers to embark on an intensive door-to-door education campaign against the disease.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has since been notified of the outbreak of the contagious disease.
The measles outbreak has been reported in Mutasa district and the Ministry of Health and Child Care has ordered all provinces to be on high alert and to report any suspected case to the nearest health facility.
“The Ministry of Health and Child Care wishes to inform the public that there is a measles outbreak among children aged six months to 15 years in Mutasa District, Manicaland.
“To date a total of 137 cases and 20 deaths have been reported. Of the reported cases, only nine had been vaccinated,” said the Health Ministry in a statement.
In an effort to control the measles outbreak, the Health Ministry has embarked on a mass vaccination campaign in Mutasa District targeting the six months to 15 years age group regardless of their vaccination status.
The Health Ministry said people who attended church gatherings especially in Manicaland during this period should be on the look-out for suspected measles among their children.
“Health workers are carrying out an intensive door-to-door education campaign against this disease,” said the ministry which went on to assure the public that “the situation is currently under control”.
The measles outbreak comes after a warning by WHO and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) of a brewing perfect storm of conditions for measles outbreaks affecting children.
Measles is a highly contagious respiratory tract viral infection commonly found in children and is spread through sneezing, coughing and by touch or contact. Symptoms start with a cough, fever and then skin rash shows up.
The risk of developing severe measles or dying from complications of measles is very high in unvaccinated children.
According to WHO, almost 17 338 measles cases were reported worldwide in January and February 2022, compared to 9665 during the first two months of 2021.