Measles cases have been rising rapidly in Zimbabwe since the first outbreak in early August, with more than 2,000 infections reported in the country.
Published: 08.16.2022, 22:38
A measles outbreak in Zimbabwe has killed at least 157 children, with more than 2,000 infections reported in the country, the government said on Tuesday.
Cases have been rising rapidly in the southern African country since the first emerged in early August, with reported deaths nearly doubling in less than a week. “As of August 15, the cumulative figures in the country amounted to 2,056 cases and 157 deaths,” Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said during a press briefing.
Monica Mutsvangwa said the government would step up vaccinations and that it intended to dip into the national disaster fund “to deal with the emergency”. The government will also ask traditional and religious leaders for their support in encouraging people to get vaccinated. The Ministry of Health previously blamed the outbreak on religious gatherings.
Increase in preventable diseases
The measles virus mainly attacks children. Among the most serious complications are blindness, diarrhea and serious respiratory infections. Its symptoms are a red rash, which first appears on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. Once very common, it can now be prevented with a vaccine.
In April, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that Africa was facing a rise in vaccine-preventable diseases. It is particularly affected by measles, with a jump of 400% in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same period of 2021, due to the delay in the vaccination of children, underlined the Africa office of the WHO.