Measles outbreak: Over 70 children in Northern Region infected

Story: News Desk

The Northern Region has recorded over 70 positive cases of measles among children since October last 2022 to date, with the situation worsening.

The region currently has run out of measles vaccines.

So far, the cases have been detected in four districts including, Karaga, Sagnerigu, Tamale and Gushegu where it was first detected.

According to Citi News sources, even though there has not been any death as a result of the outbreak, there have been severe cases where children had to be put on oxygen in some health facilities.

Sometime last year, the central hospital in Tamale had its Paediatric unit closed down due to an outbreak of measles.

Meanwhile, Health officials in the region are tight-lipped on the outbreak. Nonetheless, a release issued by the Regional Health Directorate and addressed to all Districts Health confirmed cases of measles.

“Given the current season, which presents one of the greatest risks for the transmission of measles, Districts Health Directorates and Facilities (both public and private) are urged to intensify surveillance on measles and other diseases of epidemic potential for prompt action should they occur.

“Districts and facilities are kindly requested to conduct prompt investigations and collect blood samples for laboratory confirmation. You are also expected to continue to intensify public education on the prevention of measles and other epidemic-prone diseases.”

The memo continued “All MM/DDHS must ensure that their epidemic preparedness and response (EPR) plans for measles are updated accordingly and copies submitted to the Regional Health Directorate through the Disease Surveillance Unit on or before Friday, February 10, 2023.”

General vaccine supply to the northern region has been erratic since the middle of 2022, checks in the region reveal, out of the thirteen (13) vaccines for routine immunization, only two, that is Tetanus and Tuberculosis are currently in stock.

The situation exposes children to the risks of severe illness and disabilities from diseases like measles, Pneumonia among others.

According to research, Measles is a viral infection caused by the Rubella virus and transmitted through direct contact and air. It has the tendency to cause blindness, brain inflammation, flu and fatality mostly among children under 14.

As such, routine measles vaccination is recommended for children under 12 and 15 months of age.

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