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Omusati Region plagued by a measles outbreak

Omusati Region plagued by a measles outbreak

The Ministry of Health and Social Services this week confirmed an outbreak of measles in Outapi in the Omusati Region.

The first outbreak was reported on 1 June and as part of surveillance activities, Omusati Regional Health Directorate investigated a total of 23 suspected measles cases.

“The majority of cases, 14 were from Outapi District at a school in Olukekete Village; Tsandi District (8) and Okahao District (1),” Namibia’s Ministry of Health, Executive Director, Ben Nangombe said in the public notice.

According to the investigative report, of the laboratory-confirmed cases, four cases are linked to a school near the Namibia/Angola border, in addition, two cases originated from Omakange Village in Tsandi District, also in the Omusati Region.

The age of all confirmed cases is below 15 years, ranging between 5 months and 12 years, Nangombe said, adding that all the cases are currently in a stable condition and none is admitted to a health facility.

Nangombe meanwhile, said further investigations including contact tracing and community active case search are ongoing and public health measures have been activated by the health ministry in the region, including planning for supplemental immunization campaigns in the affected districts as well as adjacent regions.

Until 2016, Namibia experienced frequent measles outbreaks, in the same trends of 2 to 3 years, which was mainly driven by the susceptibility of under-immunized children in the communities, he said.

Measles is a highly contagious, serious disease caused by a virus. The first sign of measles is usually a high fever, which begins about 10 to 12 days after exposure to the virus, and lasts 4 to 7 days. A runny nose, a cough, red and watery eyes, and small white spots inside the cheeks can develop in the initial stage. After several days, a rash erupts, usually on the face and upper neck. Over about 3 days, the rash spreads, eventually reaching the hands and feet. The rash lasts for 5 to 6 days and then fades. On average, the rash occurs 14 days after exposure to the virus (within a range of 7 to 18 days).


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