In a follow-up to a report last year of a measles outbreak in Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), officials with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) say this years outbreak is the worst since 2011.
“Measles is practically endemic in Katanga. A significant increase in cases was observed at the beginning of March 2015, mainly in the Malemba Nkulu health zone”, according to Dr Louis Albert Massing, MSF’s medical coordinator in DRC.
Massing notes that the health zone is seeing hundreds of new confirmed measles cases on a weekly basis and occasionally the weekly case count would top 1,000.
The Measles Treatment Centre (MTC) in the health district saw a 19% mortality during the first week, particularly in children with co-infections. Although that number has dropped, Massing says it’s still very high.
MSF in the area has been instrumental in vaccinating children, treating patients and just trying to get the epidemic under control.
According to the World Health Organization, 700,000 children in DRC are not vaccinated against measles, the sixth highest country globally.