DR Congo declares measles epidemic

Tuesday June 11 2019

A child gets vaccinated. More than two million children in DR Congo were vaccinated against measles in April and another 1.4 million are being targeted. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


A measles epidemic has been declared in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The country’s health ministry says it has recorded 87,000 suspected cases since the start of the year.

Cases of measles have now been reported in 23 of DR Congo's 26 provinces, both in urban and rural areas.

Measles, while highly contagious, is preventable with the right vaccines.

However, the disease has repeatedly flared in the country in recent years due to poor infrastructure, insecurity and an under-equipped public health system.

So far, measles is believed to have killed more than 1,500 people here since the beginning of this year, most of the victims being children under five.


The health ministry declared the epidemic on Monday.

Sources within the country's vaccination programme told the BBC they are currently raising funds to organise a preventive vaccination campaign to stop the spread of the virus to unaffected areas.

More than two million children were vaccinated against measles in April and another 1.4 million are being targeted by a campaign that will start in the next few days in health zones with measles cases.

In a statement, medical charity Doctors Without Borders warned this measles epidemic risks being the country’s deadliest since the disease’s strong resurgence in 2011-2012.