N/R: over 70 children infected by measles outbreak

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

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

The region currently has run out of measles vaccines.

According to Citi News sources, no death case has been recorded. However, there have been severe cases where children had to be put on oxygen in some health facilities.

A measles outbreak last year, 2022 forced the closure of the pediatric unit at Tamale’s main hospital.

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 Directors and sighted by Citi News 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.”

Since the middle of 2022, the general vaccine supply to the Northern Region has been inconsistent; checks in the area show that only two (2) of the thirteen (13) vaccines required for routine immunization—Tetanus and Tuberculosis—are currently in stock.

Children are at risk of developing serious illnesses and disabilities like measles and Pneumonia as a result of the situation.

Measles is a viral infection caused by the Rubella virus that is spread through direct contact and through the air. It is known to cause blindness, brain inflammation, flu, and death to children under the age of 14.

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

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