At least 157 children dead in Zimbabwe measles outbreak

At least 157 children dead in Zimbabwe measles outbreak  A measles outbreak in Zimbabwe has killed at least 157 children, with more than 2,000 infections reported in the country, the government said on Tuesday.  Cases have been rising rapidly in the southern African country since the first emerged in early August, with reported deaths nearly doubling in less than a week.  "As of August 15, the cumulative figures in the country stood at 2,056 cases and 157 deaths ," Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said during a press briefing. She said the government would step up vaccinations and intended to dip into the national disaster fund "to deal with the emergency" .  The government will also ask traditional and religious leaders for their support in encouraging people to get vaccinated. The Health Ministry has previously blamed the outbreak on religious gatherings . Christian sects are opposed to modern medicine and tell their members to rely on self- proclaimed prophets for healing.  The measles virus mainly attacks children. Among the most serious complications are blindness , diarrhea and severe respiratory infections . Its symptoms are a red rash that first appears on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. Once very common, it can now be prevented with a vaccine.  Zimbabwe continued to vaccinate children against measles even at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, but religious groups that preach against vaccines have hampered the campaign. Epidemics occurring in unvaccinated and malnourished populations have claimed thousands of lives. Scientists estimate that more than 90% of the population needs to be vaccinated to prevent measles outbreaks.  In April, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that Africa was facing a rise in vaccine-preventable diseases. It is particularly affected by measles, with a jump of 400% in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same period of 2021, due to the delay in the vaccination of children, underlined the Africa office of the WHO.  In July, UNICEF said around 25 million children worldwide had missed routine vaccinations against common childhood illnesses , calling it a "red alert" for children's health.

A measles outbreak in Zimbabwe has killed at least 157 children, with more than 2,000 infections reported in the country, the government said on Tuesday.

Cases have been rising rapidly in the southern African country since the first emerged in early August, with reported deaths nearly doubling in less than a week.

"As of August 15, the cumulative figures in the country stood at 2,056 cases and 157 deaths ," Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said during a press briefing. She said the government would step up vaccinations and intended to dip into the national disaster fund "to deal with the emergency" .

The government will also ask traditional and religious leaders for their support in encouraging people to get vaccinated. The Health Ministry has previously blamed the outbreak on religious gatherings . Christian sects are opposed to modern medicine and tell their members to rely on self- proclaimed prophets for healing.

The measles virus mainly attacks children. Among the most serious complications are blindness , diarrhea and severe respiratory infections . Its symptoms are a red rash that first appears on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. Once very common, it can now be prevented with a vaccine.

Zimbabwe continued to vaccinate children against measles even at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, but religious groups that preach against vaccines have hampered the campaign. Epidemics occurring in unvaccinated and malnourished populations have claimed thousands of lives. Scientists estimate that more than 90% of the population needs to be vaccinated to prevent measles outbreaks.

In April, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that Africa was facing a rise in vaccine-preventable diseases. It is particularly affected by measles, with a jump of 400% in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same period of 2021, due to the delay in the vaccination of children, underlined the Africa office of the WHO.

In July, UNICEF said around 25 million children worldwide had missed routine vaccinations against common childhood illnesses , calling it a "red alert" for children's health.
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