Public Health and Sanitation Director Shahnaaz Sharif has confirmed that there is a measles outbreak in the Kenya. According to reports thirty two children to have died over the past nine months as a result of the new measles outbreak in the country.
The epidemic is said to have started in refugee camps in north eastern Kenya before spreading to the rest of the country. This according to Shahnaaz Sharif is because most refugees from Somalia are usually not vaccinated hence putting Kenyans at risk.
Measles is a highly contagious infection of the respiratory system caused by a virus and can lead to several complications such as pneumonia, diarrhoea, ear infections, blindness and death if left untreated. Symptoms of measles include among others, eyes, cough, fever, photophobia, muscle and rash.
GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENT – SIX MILLION CHILDREN TO BE VACCINATED
Last year, the figures for confirmed cases of measles in Kenya stood at 665 but the number has so far raised to 767 this year, even though suspected number of cases is much higher at 3,056.
The government is planning to conduct a nationwide measles vaccination campaign targeting six million children between the ages of nine months and five years, in an attempt to contain the situation.
Kenya is not alone in facing the measles epidemic. A total of 45 counties have been affected by the outbreak.
“The campaign will be conducted between November 3 and 7, this year. Vitamin A will also be given to all children while oral polio vaccine will be given to all children in North Eastern province,” said Shahnaaz Sharif.
VACCINES DISPENSED FOR FREE
The measles vaccine in Kenya is among the last an infant gets and it’s normally administered as a onetime dose at 9 months but that is to change as the government plans to introduce a two-dose programme in the next 18 months, claiming that the one dose no longer guaranteed full protection.
Vaccines are normally dispensed for free in government hospitals but sadly, some mothers ignorantly still fail to ensure that their children get vaccinated against this life threatening illnesses.
The Kenya Forum hopes that Kenyan mothers can take advantage of these government campaigns, which are normally done door to door, and ensure that they secure their children’s health.
The following advice was issued today by a Nairobi school:
We do advise you to have your child vaccinated with an MMR booster, but this does not mean they cannot contract measles, however the infection may be less.
If you have children under the age of 5 years, please get them re-vaccinated.
The symptoms of measles generally begin about 7-14 days after a person is infected, and include:
Measles Rash – A typical case of measles begins with mild to moderate fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, and sore throat.
Two or three days after symptoms begin, tiny white spots (Koplik’s spots) may appear inside the mouth.
Three to five days after the start of symptoms, a red or reddish-brown rash appears.
The rash usually begins on a person’s face at the hairline and spreads downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet.
When the rash appears, a person’s fever may spike to more than 38 degrees.