Published Date: 2010-04-14 14:49:29
Subject: PRO/EAFR> Measles - Zambia: (Lusaka)
Archive Number: 20100414.206758
MEASLES - ZAMBIA: (LUSAKA)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Sun 10 Apr 2010
Source: All Africa.com, The Times of Zambia Report (Zambia) [edited]
Measles Outbreak: Zambia (Lusaka)
A measles outbreak has hit the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) and
4 other health centres in Lusaka. According to sources at the
Ministry of Health the cases of measles have increased to 86 in the
last 3 months -- January to April  -- with UTH recording the
highest number of infected children. "UTH has been recording an
increase in the number of measles cases, from only 2 admissions in
January , to over 20 cases as of 6 Apr ," a source said.
Chawama had 36 cases, Kanyama 6, Mandevu 4, while Makeni recorded 3 cases.
The sources added that the highest number of cases recorded at the
UTH was in March  when admissions reached 37. Since the
beginning of April , 22 admissions had been recorded. A source
attributed the current measles outbreak to the failure by health
centres in Lusaka to carry out effective immunization of children.
"It could be because of limited financial resources, poor road
networks in hard-to-reach areas, and inadequate manpower," the source
Only 13 out of the 24 health centres in Lusaka were carrying out
immunization campaigns. The most affected age group was between 9
months and 5 years. However, the youngest casualty is a 3-month-old
baby. Out of the total number of infected children in Lusaka, 41 are
suspected not to have been immunized against the virus. Lusaka
District Health Management Team officials held an emergency meeting
during the week to whip up interventions to stop the outbreak from escalating.
Ministry of Health spokesperson Kamoto Mbewe said he did not have the
details on the outbreak but the ministry was still compiling data.
But UTH public relations officer Pauline Mbangweta yesterday [9 April
2010] confirmed the cases of measles at UTH and most of the
admissions were as a result of referrals from health centres. She
cited Chawama as having the highest number of referred cases to UTH.
Ms Mbangweta could, however, not give exact figures of the current
admissions, but said there were no deaths as a result of the outbreak.
HealthMap Alerts via ProMED-mail
[The current report indicates an increase in the number of measles
cases in Lusaka, Zambia, and these have been attributed to low
immunization coverage in the affected areas. Its not clear from the
report if this was a finding from a comprehensive investigation by
the authorities. Measles control however requires a 3-pronged
strategy including: a nationwide immunization catch-up campaign
usually targeting every child from 9 months to 14 years; sustained
routine immunization coverage of at least 95 percent of children
during the 1st year of life; and nationwide campaigns every 2-5 years
usually targeting children born after the initial catch-up campaign.
This is applicable especially of the cause of the measles outbreaks
is low measles immunization coverage.
A map showing the provinces of Zambia can be accessed at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provinces_of_Zambia, and the
HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map of the country can be accessed at
http://healthmap.org/r/017q. - Mod.JFW]