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Measles outbreak kills 11 in Balochistan, Pakistan

An outbreak of the vaccine preventable disease, measles, has struck theQadirabad area of Nushki district in Balochistan province killing eleven children and leaving dozens (40) hospitalized, according to an Express Tribune report.

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It is not clear based on local media reports if any of the cases were laboratory confirmed or whether the patients were vaccinated.

District Health Officer Nushki Dr Hameed Baloch said, “Medical teams have reached the measles-hit areas and children are being given anti-measles jab to stop the disease from spreading further. We visited the houses where deaths have been reported and asked the family members to show vaccination cards. [It was emerged] that a majority of the households had refused to allow the jab for their children.”

“People live in the area often visit neighboring Afghanistan to meet their relatives without giving their children anti-measles vaccine,” Dr Baloch said, adding, “They also do not cooperate with the government officials running anti-measles campaigns.”

Measles is caused by a virus belonging to the paramyxovirus. The disease is one of the most infectious diseases that exists. Measles virus excreted by breathing the air and spread through air droplets (aerosols). Susceptible people infected via the respiratory tract or mucous membranes of the eyes.

The incubation period is 7-18 days, usually about 10 days.

At the onset of measles is acute with rapidly rising fever, eye irritation and increasingly troublesome dry cough. After a day occurs a red and often confluent rash that usually only seen in the face and then spreads down the trunk and extremities.Another early symptoms of measles are small white spots on the buccal mucosa (Koplik’s spots).

Complications are quite common. Toddlers often suffer from respiratory problems and the infected mucous membranes may become secondarily infected with bacteria. Children can then have, for example, otitis media, sinusitis or pneumonia, which often requires antibiotic treatment. Measles virus is also capable of causing pneumonia in itself.

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