Uganda faces national measles outbreak

The Ugandan Ministry of Health issued an announcement Monday that there is a national measles outbreak in central, eastern and western Uganda and warned the public to report suspected cases early.
Jane Ruth Aceng, the director-general of health services in the ministry, said that the country has identified cases in the Namutumba, Nakasongola, Namayingo, Luweero, Ntungamo, Rakai, Kampala, Bushenyi Kabarole, Bukedea and Bududa districts, the Daily Monitor reports.
The very contagious disease was first suspected in Namayingo in November after 112 children were admitted to hospitals with measles symptoms. Aceng said that to curb the airborne disease, Uganda has opened up a measles unit at the National Referral Hospital in Mulago and other upcountry hospitals and health centers to attend to any potential cases.
"Avoid and immediately take any suspected measles cases to the nearest health facility," Aceng said, according to the Daily Monitor.
While reported cases of measles in Uganda have declined by more than 90 percent, due partially to the initiation of nationwide vaccination campaigns in 2003, the disease continues to claim more children's lives than any other vaccine-preventable disease.
Edward Mwesigwa, the Bushenyi district health officer, said that four cases had been identified in the district as German rubella.
“They sent samples and the disease was confirmed,” Mwesigwa said, according to the Daily Monitor.
Measles can spread rapidly among children who are not immunized. Complications of the disease include blindness, malnutrition, deafness, pneumonia and death.