DRC records 20,000 suspected Measles cases in January

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20,000 suspected measles cases were recorded in DR Congo in January as aid agencies are still working to contain the outbreak.

Meanwhile, last year, there were 148,600 cases recorded and 1,800 deaths.

Doctors Wothout Borders affirmed that in January, close to 20,000 suspected cases of measles were recorded in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

One of the world’s most contagious diseases, measles, an acute viral respiratory illness, has become endemic in the DRC with outbreaks every two to three years.

Between 2018 and 2020, the country experiences the largest measles outbreak on record.

During that time, it affected close to 460 000 children, 8 000 of whom died.

Dr Louis Massing, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) medical director in the DRC, said that despite having emergency teams on the ground in affected areas, there were constant flare-ups in other parts of the country.

He said:

“We have five emergency teams mobilised almost around the clock to respond to the various measles outbreaks throughout the country. But as soon as we put out a fire here, it flares up on the other side.

“Last year nearly half of the country’s health zones were once again in an epidemic situation.”

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), in 2021 only 55% of children were covered by one inoculation of the two-dose measles vaccine cycle, a far cry from the recommended 95% full vaccination.