By Chisomo Phiri
The Ministry of Health has on Monday declared an outbreak of measles in Area 36-Zamkutu, along the by-pass road in Lilongwe.
In a press statement, Secretary for Health
Samson Mndolo said the outbreak has affected several villages in the area with a total of 32 suspected measles cases recorded as of November 3, 2023.
“Blood samples from 9 suspected cases were tested and all were confirmed positive for measles.
“Most of the affected individuals are chldren aged under 15 years many of whom had not received the recommended measles vaccination.
“The reasons for non vaccination include religious and cultural beliefs,” reads the ministry’s statement in part.
The Ministry, with support from partners has since outlined various measures to contain the situation including a supplementary vaccination campaign to reach all children in the affected areas.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that poses significant health risks, especially to children.
Its symptoms encompass high fever, cough, runny nose, red and watery eyes, sore throat, and a distinctive rash of small red spots.
Measles can lead to severe respiratory and neurological complications and, in some cases, even be fatal.
The virus spreads through respiratory droplets when infected individuals cough or sneeze, or through direct contact with virus-infected fluid.
Measles is preventable through basic hygiene practices like hand washing with soap, covering one’s mouth and nose while sneezing and coughing, and vaccination and the ministry has encouraged isolation at home for all those with symptoms and to go to school when symptoms resolve.