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Measles cases rise to 26 in Lamwo

pupils queue to receieve measles-rubella vaccines at the launch of the five days mass immunization against polio, rubella and measles in kitgum district on tuesday. photo by julius ocungi

Lamwo, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT  |  Lamwo district health teams have heightened sensitization campaigns within communities in the district following an increase in cases of measles. At least 26 people have tested positive to the highly contagious infection since its outbreak early this month.

The first five confirmed cases of measles were registered in the four villages of Agoro sub-county on January 10, 2020, from a sample of 18 children who had suspected symptoms of the disease. Lamwo District Health Educator Obote Odwar says that 21 patients who had similar symptoms were confirmed to be positive a week later.

Odwar says that three other sub-counties of Paloga, Palabek Ogili and Palabek Kal have reported suspected cases of measles among three children who are being monitored.

According to him, their blood samples have been taken by health ministry officials to THE Uganda Virus Research Institute [UVRI] for analysis. He believes that the disease could have been spread from the neighbouring Ikotos County in South Sudan and easily affected children who were never immunized against measles.

Odwar says so far, 30 health workers have been trained to combat the spread of the disease through early case identification, strengthening surveillance systems in all health centres and routine immunization drives.

The district health department has now developed a response plan targeting mass immunization of children aged between six months and 15 years. Odwar maintains that the situation is under “control” and isn’t “alarming” but cautioned residents to be vigilant of their home hygiene.

Charles Labalpiny, the in-charge of Agoro Health Centre III told URN in an interview that out of the 26 patients infected with the disease, two are adults of 20 and 40-years-old.

He says the health facility is currently having two children undergoing treatment in an isolation ward but stressed that in case of a likely increase in the cases, the facility won’t be able to hold all the patients due to limited space.

Labalpiny says they are working around the clock to ensure that there are no fatalities through conducting massive sensitization of community members.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and remains one of the leading causes of death among young children globally, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine.

In October last year, the government conducted a mass immunization campaign for children below 15 years against polio, measles and congenital rubella infection.

Results from the campaign released by the health ministry show that a total of 19.4 million children were vaccinated against Measles-Rubella out of the 18.1 million children targeted.

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