FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Measles outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo grows worse

Measles outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo grows worse. | Courtesy of nature.com
The current measles epidemic in the Katanga province within the Democratic Republic of Congo continues to grow worse.

As of today, over 20,000 people have gotten sick from measles, and approximately 300 people have died from the outbreak this year alone. Local officials say that Katanga lacks the resources to adequately fight the outbreak.

Over 20 out of the 68 health districts located in Katanga have now been affected by the illness. In June, only 10 were affected.

"Every day we discover new deaths related to measles that have not been accounted for," Augustin Ngoyi, MSF (Doctors Without Borders) coordinator of the response, said. "In a village of 500 inhabitants two hours’ drive from Kabalo, more than 30 children under five years of age have died in the last two months. Their little graves are still visible in the cemetery. This represents one third of this age group in the community."

The government in Congo has not yet given an official declaration about the epidemic. This decision may have caused the timely response to be delayed.

"We need more actors in the field," Jean-Guy Vataux, MSF head of mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, said. "MSF remains one of only two organizations in Katanga today involved in treating measles and immunizing children against it."

Organizations in this story

Doctors Without Borders 333 7th Avenue New York, NY 10001-5004

Get notified the next time we write about Doctors Without Borders!