Nearly 5,000 people died from measles in the Democratic Republic of Congo so far this year, authorities have told.
Almost a quarter of a million people have been affected in the African nation in 2019, with cases in every corner of the country.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) told that it was the world’s biggest and fastest-moving disease. In September the government began an emergency vaccination program with the purpose of immunizing more than 800,000 children. But roughly 4 million children – about half of the total in the country – remain unvaccinated and not enough jabs are ready.
The majority of measles deaths in the country have been newborns whose immune systems are too weak to protect from the illness. Poor infrastructure and lack of access to routine healthcare have also stalled attempts to control the crisis.
The African nation is also now in the grips of an Ebola crisis, which has executed more than 2,100 people.
The number of Britons vaccinating themselves or their children against the virus has steadily decreased in current years, while cases of measles have quadrupled in the last 12 months. In the first quarter of this year, there were 231 verified cases. Britain has announced measles free by the World Health Organisation in 2016 after a 36-month period with no ‘endemic’ transmission.
This indicated that the only outbreaks at that moment had begun abroad and been then passed on. Politicians are alarmed regarding ‘creeping cynicism’ circling the safety of vaccinations partly driven by the anti-vax movement, which spreads scare stories, conspiracy theories, and false information regarding the jabs online.
Measles is a very deadly viral infection that flows easily from an infected person by coughing, sneezing or even just breathing. Symptoms occur between 6 and 19 days after infection and include a runny nose, cough, sore eyes, a fever, and a rash.
In one in 15 cases, measles can create life-threatening difficulties including pneumonia, convulsions, and encephalitis.