The Uganda Ministry of Health has reported a measles outbreak in the districts of Kampala and Wakiso, according to Prof. Anthony Mbonye, acting Director of Health Services. All the 5 divisions of Kampala, as well as several suburbs in Wakiso District, are affected.
To date, 67 measles cases have been identified by surveillance and of this total, seven cases have been laboratory confirmed.
The ministry is investigating the extent of spread of measles within the districts of Kampala and Wakiso and conducting sensitization programmes to educate the public about the signs, symptoms and dangers of the disease.
Health officials are also undertaking immunization programmes of children and management of all suspected cases
Health officials appealed to the public to avoid direct contact with children infected or suspected to be infected with the disease and report and immediately take any suspected children to nearby health facilities.
Parents are urged to take unvaccinated children under 5 years of age for immunization to the nearest health facilities.
Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus that is spread by direct contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected people. Symptoms generally appear in two stages.
In the first stage, which lasts two to four days, the individual may have a runny nose, cough and a slight fever. Eyes may become reddened and sensitive to light while the fever gradually rises each day, often peaking as high as 103° to 105° F. Small bluish white spots surrounded by a reddish area may also appear on the inside of the mouth.
The second stage begins on the third to seventh day and consists of a red blotchy rash lasting five to six days. The rash usually begins on the face and then spreads downward and outward, reaching the hands and feet. The rash fades in the same order that it appeared, from head to extremities. A person can spread measles from 4 days before the onset of rash through 4 days after the rash begins. Although measles is usually considered a childhood disease, it can be contracted at any age.
The single best way to prevent measles is to be vaccinated. Individuals should receive 2 doses of MMR vaccine to be protected.
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