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AWERIAL - 17 Mar 2023

Lakes state declares measles outbreak in Awerial County

A child is vaccinated against measles at a vaccination center in Bor, Jonglei State on March 11, 2023. (Credit: Citizen P Thon Aleu)
A child is vaccinated against measles at a vaccination center in Bor, Jonglei State on March 11, 2023. (Credit: Citizen P Thon Aleu)

The Ministry of Health in South Sudan's Lakes State on Friday declared a measles outbreak in Awerial County.

Dr. Hakim Makuer Gol, Director General in Lakes state Ministry of Health, told Radio Tamazuj that they have registered more than 47 measles cases in Awerial County.

“There are currently 47 cases of measles. These 47 are the ones which crossed the River Bor Hospital,” he said.

Hakim revealed Bunagok, Alel, and Abuyung Payams areas were most affected by the outbreak.

“The cases are recorded areas of Bunagok, Alel, and Abuyung Payams and Wunthon, in these areas which besides the River Nile, they are the ones much affected for the fact that they hard-to-reach areas and they are far from health facilities,” he added.

He said the children most affected by measles are from 18 years and below.

“So far there are no confirmed death cases reported apart from last month where we had two death cases reported in Awerial,” he said.

He disclosed that Ministry is planning to roll out a measles campaign in the eight counties of Lakes State in April.

“It will be much better to have a process of intervention through vaccination of children; we will bring the vaccine for the measles to protect the children from the measles infection.”

Dr. Moses Gak Reech, Director of Bor State Hospital in Jonglei State said they are managing more than 47 cases at Bor State Hospital.

“They are increasing on daily basis and right now I don’t have a record book with me but they suspected cases are more than that (47 cases),” said Gak.

Gak disclosed that the majority of the patients have been discharged from the hospital, adding that they have not recorded any death cases.

“We don’t have any death cases and most of the patients have been discharged and in good condition,” he said.

According to WHO, measles is a highly contagious disease caused by the measles virus and occurs as a seasonal disease in tropical zones during the dry season.

It is transmitted instantly through respiratory droplets when an infected person sneezes or coughs, but the nature of transmission to vaccinated persons has not been demonstrated.

Measles can cause serious complications including blindness, severe diarrhea, ear infection, and pneumonia among malnourished children and people with compromised immunity as well as pregnant women.