October 2, 2013 (JUBA) – The health ministry and World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday announced an outbreak of Measles in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state, a day after a Polio spate in the country prompted an emergency declaration.
- Three-year-old Sarah is immunised against measles in South Sudan (Photo: UNICEF)
Officials said 44 cases of the deadly disease were reported in Malakal county, since August.
According to the health ministry, 10 of the 15 samples collected from patients in Malakal teaching hospital tested positive for the disease.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease, which affects mostly children. It is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons. Symptoms of the disease, which reportedly appears within 10–12 days after infections are said to include high fever, runny nose, bloodshot eyes, and tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth.
“Those affected are aged between 6-18 months of age and continue receiving treatment at Malakal teaching hospital”, the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry of health informs all the communities that we are committed to containing the outbreak in Malakal county, it added.
To contain the disease, however, the health ministry said it had instituted the following measures;
Reactivated a national and a state measles taskforce to coordinate the interventions response
Surveillance has been heightened at the facility and community levels
Together with the state ministry of health and partners on ground (WHO, UNICEF) plans to conduct mass measles vaccination campaigns targeting over 31,303 children between the ages of 6 months-5 years have been put in place.