Measles infections spike in Central Equatoria State

Measles infections spike in Central Equatoria State
Najua Juma Mersal, the Central Equatoria State Minister of Health, speaking to reporters after their extra ordinary sitting on Monday evening. [Photo: Taban Emmanuel]

The Central Equatoria State has recorded an increase in the cases of measles across the state.

The CES minister of health, Najua Juma Mursal, said despite the immunization program, the state is still grappling with the bulging number of cases. 

“We are dealing with a variety of diseases in Central Equatoria State…there have been more cases of measles in other parts of the country,” said Mursal.

According to her, recent occurrences have been recorded in the Northern Bari, particularly in Kurujic Luri (Hai Nusu).

“We discovered a significant number of cases in Northern Bari, mainly in Kurujic, Luri, Hai Nusu, and the other Payams of Juba County.” 

Mursal said the cases were also reported in some cattle camps within the state and in Amadi area along Yei road.

She attributed the increase to the lack of early vaccination among the communities that have been victims of such diseases.

She revealed the plans to conduct a massive vaccination campaign in places like Morobo, Rukon, and Terekeka counties.

“The ministry has already formed a team with the help of the partners to ensure that all children within the three blocks of Juba County, Payam, receive vaccinations against measles.”

She was speaking at an emergency meeting chaired by Deputy Governor Sarah Nene on Monday.

The current outbreak was reported in mid-July and had registered 79 measles cases and no death.

Last month, the ministry of health began a reactive measles vaccination campaign in Juba County.

According to Mursal, the vaccination is targeting 37,390 children aged between six months to 14 years at outreach centres, schools, and health centres.

Reported routine immunisation coverage for the measles vaccine in Juba for the first half of the year is below 50 per cent.

Measles prognosis

According to the WHO, measles is an acute viral respiratory illness. It is characterised by a prodrome of fever (as high as 105°F) and malaise, cough, coryza, and conjunctivitis—the three “C”s—pathognomonic enanthema (Koplik spots) followed by a maculopapular rash.

Measles symptoms do not appear until 10 to 14 days after exposure. They include cough, runny nose, inflamed eyes, sore throat, fever, and a red, blotchy skin rash.

It is a viral infection that is serious for small children but is easily preventable by a vaccine.

The disease spreads through the air by respiratory droplets produced from coughing or sneezing.