By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
Since our last report on the measles outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) at the end of June, the outbreak total has increased by some 17,000 cases.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), from 1 January to 21 July 2019, a total of 137,154 suspected measles cases including 2,581 deaths (case fatality ratio 1.9%) have been reported from 455 (88%) out of 519 health zones across all 26 provinces of the DRC.
Measles vaccination coverage remains low across the DRC, contributing to the high number of susceptible individuals and fueling protracted outbreaks of measles. According to the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS), the estimated coverage for measles-containing vaccine 1 (MCV1) was 57% in 2018. The routine immunization program offers only a single dose of measles-containing vaccine to children at the age of nine months.
Two of the provinces, North-Kivu and Ituri, are concomitantly affected by the ongoing Ebola outbreak. These provinces reported 1 832 cases (CFR 0.5%) and 6 193 cases (CFR 1.0%) respectively since the beginning of 2019.
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This outbreak is occurring in the context of a protracted humanitarian crisis, characterized by high levels of malnutrition, multiple outbreaks of epidemic-prone diseases, including the ongoing Ebola outbreak, mass displacement of populations in conflict-affected areas, and a weak health system.