Health officials report a measles outbreak at a ATC Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Maiduguri, which resulted in 22 illnesses and six fatalities, according to a Nigerian news source.

Nigeria map/CIA

The IDP, in Borno State, was called “overcrowded” when the outbreak occurred with some 8000 IDPs present at the time. the congestion and resulting outbreak forced officials to evacuate thousands to other camps.

According to the World Health Organization, measles remains one of the leading causes of death among young children globally, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine. Approximately 114 900 people died from measles in 2014 – mostly children under the age of 5.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease, which affects mostly children. It is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons. Initial symptoms, which usually appear 10–12 days after infection, include high fever, runny nose, bloodshot eyes, and tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth. Several days later, a rash develops, starting on the face and upper neck and gradually spreading downwards.

There is no specific treatment for measles and most people recover within 2–3 weeks. However, particularly in malnourished children and people with reduced immunity, measles can cause serious complications, including blindness, encephalitis, severe diarrhoea, ear infection and pneumonia. Measles can be prevented by immunization.