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14 children killed in measles outbreak in Anambra, says commissioner

14 children killed in measles outbreak in Anambra, says commissioner
May 25
13:47 2022

The Anambra government says 14 children have died from a measles outbreak in nine LGAs of the state.

Afam Obidike, the commissioner for health, spoke on Wednesday at a post-measles outbreak response news conference in Awka, the state capital.

He said 414 cases were recorded in the affected LGAs which include Anambra East, Anambra West, Ayamelum, Ihiala, Idemili North, Nnewi North, Onitsha North, Njikoka, and Oyi.

The commissioner noted that support from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children Emergency Fund helped the state to curtail the spread.

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“In March, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) alerted us of a measles outbreak in nine LGAs in the state. We contacted the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), to assist us curtail further spread of the disease,” NAN quoted him as saying.

“The disease spread from nine LGAs to 13 LGAs but with the help of WHO, we swung into action and activated surveillance and our emergency response team in the affected LGAs and wards.

“Unfortunately, we recorded case fatalities. We lost about 14 children to the measles outbreak out of 414 cases we had. It is something we need to be mindful of because the case fatality is high, about 48 per cent.”

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He said the COVID-19 pandemic affected routine immunisation in the state in 2021, which he said contributed to the outbreak.

“We also noticed that people living in clusters, poor environmental hygiene practices and poor uptake of vaccine were the other causes of the outbreak in the affected areas,” he said.

“We have contacted the ministries of environment and water resources, to improve environmental hygiene and water supply in those affected areas.

“We will also intensify social mobilisation to encourage residents to receive vaccination. We have activated routine immunisation in the state to prevent future outbreaks.”

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The commissioner said as a measure to tackle the disease, a total of 19,609 unvaccinated children from age zero to 59 months had been vaccinated.

He said the surrounding communities were also vaccinated to prevent the spread of the disease.

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