The World Health Organization (WHO) says 3 people have died while 453 cases of measles have been confirmed since the latest outbreak hit Mauritius late in March.
According to the WHO African weekly outbreaks bulletin for the week ending July 20, Mauritius has reported measles cases since March 21. Infections peaked in the week ending June 18, with more than 80 cases confirmed. All came from nine districts, while the case fatality ratio averaged 0.7%.
“The three deaths have been in young women with unknown vaccination status, all between the ages of 29 and 31 years. All were immuno-deficient, resulting in the disease being complicated by encephalitis or septicaemia.
“The incidence rate was highest in those aged 0-9 years of age, followed by those aged 20-39 years. The incidence rate of the disease was highest in the districts located in the west of the island including Port Louis, Black River and Plaines Wilhems,” the WHO said.
The confirmed cases were notified to the Communicable Disease Control Unit (CDCU) in the Mauritian capital Port Louis. The government has concluded a case analysis which found that 45% of the infected people were never vaccinated for measles.
Only 29% have previously received at least one dose of some measles-containing vaccine (MCV1), while 26% are of unknown vaccination status. Most of the patients are being isolated at home and a public call has been made to limit travels to avoid spreading the disease.
Ten health teams are operating across the island, screening for fever/rash and checking public vaccination status for MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) in all schools in the affected areas.
The WHO said the current outbreak of measles in Mauritius demonstrates the importance of maintaining high levels of vaccination coverage against the disease.
“Prior to this current outbreak, the last detected case of measles in Mauritius was in 2009 and the country consistently had one of the highest (measles) vaccination rates in the WHO African region.
However, the vaccination coverage dropped in the past two years, leading to the current outbreak. Supplementary immunisation activities are being planned to halt the spread of the disease.
- Dengue health emergency declared in Baybay City, Leyte
- Cholera outbreak stalks Cameroon
- Preventive vaccination programme reaches 213,000 children in Central African Republic
- Shigella outbreak strikes children’s camp in Donetsk region, Ukraine
- France: Chlamydia and Gonorrhea diagnoses triple since 2012
- Travelers to Kenya warned about Rift Valley fever