Two children have died of measles and 30 others are in critical condition in a Médecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) health facility in Pibor Administrative Area, South Sudan, the medical charity has said.
In a press a statement seen by the East African on Friday, MSF says the contagious life-threatening disease is causing a severe crisis.
“We believe measles is now widespread and getting out of control. It is especially concerning that the Greater Pibor Administrative Area is flooded and in an emergency. We started with four, then six and then 18 isolation beds,” MSF’s Dr Adelard Shyaka said.
The charity urged health organisations to urgently launch a vaccination campaign to curb the outbreak.
“The severity of the outbreak is being magnified by other illnesses like severe malaria, pneumonia and severe malnutrition.
“Two children have already died and we are deeply concerned that without a prompt reactive vaccination campaign, more children will continue to die,” Dr Shyaka said.
MSF epidemiologist Laura Wright said measles can infect around 12 to 18 other people during the eight-day period in which a person with the disease is infectious.
“We can expect the infection rate of measles in Pibor today to be alarmingly higher than these estimates.
“A total 71 per cent of patients are under one year of age. This is likely due to a disruption of routine vaccinations, resulting from the flooding that also happened this time last year and the ongoing conflict,” she said.
Measles is a highly a contagious disease that is transmitted through the air. It has no specific treatment, but vaccination is effective.