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Measles Outbreak Ravages South Sudan

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South Sudan’s Director-General for Preventive Health Services, John Rumunu, has confirmed an outbreak of measles in five regional states.

Rumunu, who said the North African country and its partners were planning to conduct reactive measles vaccinations in the areas where the outbreaks have been reported, can however not confirm the number of cases in the areas.

Medical charity, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), had last week said that 30 children with severe measles were being treated at its facility in Pibor area in eastern South Sudan.

It called for an urgent vaccination campaign to stop the spread of the contagious disease.

The group said it treated the first children with suspected measles in central Pibor town in August, and the outbreak has grown significantly since then.

“From August to October, MSF treated more than 250 children and is currently treating 30 children with severe measles in its Pibor health facility. Patients are increasingly coming from farther away in the surrounding Greater Pibor Administrative Area, as people walk and paddle through stagnant and moving floodwaters, sometimes for up to seven days,” the group said in a statement.

Adelard Shyaka, an MSF doctor in Pibor, noted that the outbreak is getting out of control.

He said, ” We believe measles is now widespread and getting out of control.

“It is especially concerning that the Greater Pibor Administrative Area is flooded in a larger emergency. The severity of the situation is magnified by other illnesses including severe malaria, pneumonia and severe malnutrition. Two children have already died of measles and we are deeply concerned that without a prompt reactive vaccination campaign, more children will die.”

Measles is a highly contagious disease that is transmitted through the air. Malnourished children under the age of five are more likely to develop severe measles, with serious and even fatal complications, including severe diarrhea, pneumonia, blindness or encephalitis.

There is no specific treatment for measles, but a well-conducted vaccination campaign is extremely effective in preventing new cases. In areas like Pibor with large-scale movement of people and low immunization rates due to insecurity and logistical challenges, vaccination can reduce infant mortality by 50 percent.

Pibor and the surrounding area experienced intercommunal conflicts earlier this year, and many people were displaced by the violence before being displaced again by flooding. Children in Pibor are now living in close contact to each other, increasing the risks of transmission.

“With the floods, many communities are clustered on small islands of dry land,” said Josh Rosenstein, MSF coordinator in Pibor. “This is the moment to vaccinate as many children as possible through small mobile teams visiting these small islands. If it does not happen now, the water levels will start to decrease and people will start to return to their homes elsewhere. This is the best chance that we have at controlling the disease outbreak.”

MSF has been calling on health organizations in South Sudan to urgently implement a widescale reactive vaccination campaign since August 31, when six measles cases were confirmed by laboratory testing. It is the third measles outbreak in Pibor in the last 12 months, and MSF is struggling to control it while simultaneously responding to multiple health emergencies in the area.

MSF is not able to do more. In the last 11 weeks, MSF has treated more than 15,624 patients in and around Pibor, including 6,290 children under the age of five. More than half of these patients have been treated for malaria: a number far above normal for this time of year. MSF has also treated 1,700 children under five for respiratory tract infections and 699 for watery diarrhea and is responding to rapidly increasing numbers of patients with malnutrition.

MSF teams are delivering health care through six mobile clinics in villages on the periphery of Pibor and a health facility in the town. MSF is also supporting water and sanitation activities, distributing about 60,000 liters of water daily.

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Nigeria Records 110 New COVID-19 Infections in 11 States

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has confirmed 110 new cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.

The NCDC made this known via the agency’s website on Saturday.

The public health agency said that the new cases brought the total number of COVID-19 infections in Nigeria to 67,330.

Nigeria has so far tested 756,237 people since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was announced on Feb. 27 this year.

The NCDC said that the new infections were recorded in 10 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

According to the centre, the 110 new cases are reported from 11 states with Lagos having 26; the FCT, 23; Kaduna, 20 and Katsina, 11.

Ogun recorded nine cases; Ekiti, six; Plateau, five; Rivers, four; Kano and Nasarawa, three each and Niger had two.

The NCDC said that till date, 67,330 COVID-19 cases had been confirmed out of which 62,819 patients had been discharged from the various isolation centres across the country.

The centre said the nation had so far recorded 1,171 COVID-19-related deaths.

The public health agency said that a multi-sectoral national Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has been activated at Level 3 to coordinate response activities. (NAN)

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Nigeria’s COVID-19 Deaths Hit 1171, New Cases 246

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Death toll from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Nigeria increased to 1,171 after the West African nation announced two new fatalities on Friday.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says 246 new cases were also recorded in the country.

The NCDC made this known on its verified website on Friday.

The agency said that the infections brought the total number of cases in the country to 67,220.

Nigeria has tested 756,237 persons since the first confirmed case was announced on Feb. 27.

The country had since April suffered over 67,000 cases as total infections hit 67,220 and total recovery and discharge stood at 62,686.

The agency, however, said that there were two confirmed deaths within the last 24 hours, with 101 patients discharged from isolation centers across the country.

The NCDC said that the new infection were spread across nine states and the Federal Capital Territory.

It noted that Lagos led in the number of cases with 81, 73 in FCT, 39 in Plateau and 25 in Kaduna.

Among other states were Ogun with 13 infections, Bauchi, 5, Rivers, 4 and Ekiti, Taraba and Kano 2 each.

The public health agency said that till date, 67,220 cases had been confirmed, 62,686, discharged and 1,171 deaths recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

The NCDC said that a multi-sectoral national emergency operations centre (EOC) was activated at Level 3, and had continued to coordinate the national response activities.

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Kenya Records 810 New Coronavirus Infections

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Kenya has recorded 810 new coronavirus cases, the East African country’s health ministry announced on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Health said the cases increased infections in the country to 79,322 since March.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said eight patients had succumbed to the virus, raising fatalities in the country to 1,417 since April.

He said there were 1,198 patients admitted in various health facilities across the countrry.

“7,169 are on home-based isolation and care,” he said in a statement. “Forty-nine patients are in the Intensive Care Unit, thirty-one of whom are on ventilatory support, and fourteen on supplementary oxygen,” Kagwe said.

Kenya has experienced a surge in the number of infections since September, in what threatens plans to reopen schools in January next year.

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