Measles in Africa

Measles is one of the most contagious viral diseases known and is preventable with an easy vaccine. Measles is a large problem for children in Africa. The death toll for measles in Africa is so large-“every minute one child dies-that many mothers don’t give children real names until they have survived the disease.” The first signs of an outbreak of the measles consists of a high fever, lasting for a few days. Cold-like symptoms such as a runny nose, cough, and irritated eyes can also develop. A rash is next to occur and can stay for days. Measles is more common among under nourished children, leaving those with vitamin A deficiencies and other immune system problems the most at risk. Most deaths associated with measles occur from complications associated with the disease. These complications can include diarrhea, blindness, respiratory problems such as pneumonia, and many more. Measles is contracted through physical contact, and anyone without the vaccine is at risk. The virus is highly contractible as previously mentioned, and with small and well populate living quarters it is easy for the disease to spread. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended a strategy to control measles outbreaks in Africa that began in 2001. It included a series of vaccinations for children. The recommended amount is two doses. The measles vaccination has been effective since the 1960s and is cost efficient as well. The vaccine costs less than one US dollar. This increase of vaccinations has drastically helped decrease the outbreaks of measles in children in Africa. OJEWUMI Johnson S. and OJEWUMI Titus K. did a study of the childhood mortality rates in Nigeria. Measles is a prevalent disease in the area, and they note that considerable progress in routine immunizations has happened. However, they also note that that without sustained funding to continue the immunizations, mortality from measles could jump dramatically.

“.” . http://www.sjpub.org/sjsa/sjsa-212.pdf (accessed August 5, 2014).

“Measles.” WHO. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs286/en/ (accessed August 5, 2014).

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