Arua City Health Department has confirmed outbreak of Measles in the former Ayivuni Sub County with 84 cumulative cases already registered by the time of compiling this report.
The World Health Organization (WHO) describes Measles as a highly contagious disease caused by a virus, and it spreads easily when an infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes which can cause severe disease, complications and even death.
Arua City Principal Medical Officer in charge of Maternal Child Health, William Baker Ofuti confirms the outbreak. “It started from one ward (Anzuu Ward), now spreading to other wards and it is even beginning to split to other (former) sub counties as well” the Officer confirmed, stating that intervention is already instituted to prevent the disease.
Record from the city health department indicates that the first case was detected on 6th January 2024 and later confirmed on 27th January 2024, the number kept increasing.
The department, in collaboration with Ministry of Health, announced vaccination against Measles from 8th to 11th February 2024 in schools and community within Ayivuni, targeting 2463 children between the age of 6-months and 14-years.
Arua City Senior Nursing Officer in charge of vaccination, Sr. Sally Andezu said, the city prepared teams of health workers to start the exercise. “For this week we have prepared fifteen teams, each team having four members including two Recorders and two Vaccinator. We are to do this for modes; first phase on Thursday and Friday targeting schools (children between 6-months and 14-years) then on Friday and Sunday, we will be in community” she said.
However, Arua Resident City Commissioner, Charles Ichogor advised people crossing borders of Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo to limit their movements as a measure of preventing spread of the disease. “Be very cautious. In case of any eventuality, I would like to urge the community_ if you detect anything like Measles, please report to us immediately so that the team swings into action to ring-fence that place and guide them accordingly” RCC appealed.
Meanwhile, Ayivu Division Mayor, Malon Avutia encourages mothers to consider giving birth from health facilities to enable babies benefit from all the immunization.
Although Measles affects anyone, it is most common in children. It infects the respiratory tract and then spreads throughout the body with symptoms like a rash all over the body, high fever, cough, running nose, red and watery eyes. The city health officials also reveals that the vaccination exercise will be rolled-out to other parts of the city after the 4-days exercise in Ayivuni.
Globally, an estimated 128,000 people died from Measles in 2021, mostly children under the age of five years.
COVER PHOTO: The structure of Measles virus Photo by Center for Disease Control (CDC)