Published Date: 2010-06-08 16:32:36
Subject: PRO/EAFR> Measles - Africa (21): Swaziland
Archive Number: 20100608.208541
MEASLES - AFRICA (21): SWAZILAND
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Tue 8 Jun 2010
Source: Times of Swaziland [edited]
Measles outbreak takes 2 lives
An outbreak of measles at Siteki has resulted in the death of 2
children in the past 2 weeks. Worldwide, the contagious viral
disease, measles, is said to cause about a million deaths of children
a year, however the recently reported outbreak is said to only be at
Siteki and efforts to vaccinate other children has begun.
At least 30 people have been attended to at the Good Shepherd's
outpatient department and the numbers are said to be increasing
weekly. "A considerable number of people have been admitted to the
hospital such that our isolation ward at the children's section is
full to capacity," said Dr Joyce Mareverwa who was speaking in the
presence of the hospital's senior medical officer, Dr. Hailemaria Petros.
Dr. Mareverwa said the situation was being attended to and said a
task team involving the Ministry of Health had been set up. She said
the team meets every Friday to find ways to tackle the problem. The
doctor lamented that the numbers are so much that some of the
patients are being sent back to their homes where they are being
treated. Even though confirming the 2 deaths related to measles she
said she could not provide further details like their identities
without consent of the families.
Dr. Petros said measles can be treated at home in cases where it is
not severe and that it is contagious particularly to those who have
not been vaccinated. Mareverwa also said of 10 cases which were
submitted for testing to the Ministry of Health, 8 came back as
positive adding that this is a bad situation. She said the cases are
so severe in some patients such that a particular case was recorded
where the temperature had reached 41 degrees Centigrade [105.8 DEG F].
"This is the reason why we are now vaccinating children from the age
of 6 months to 15 years as from last week [week ending 6 Jun 2010],"
she said. She said parents should ensure that their children are
vaccinated adding that this way the outbreak could be controlled.
When asked if the hospital was equipped to handle the illness, Dr.
Petros responded to the affirmative. He further added that in some
cases, the disease could also be treated at home as long as
instructions were followed properly. He said it was important for
patients to be brought to the hospital 1st.
Dr. Petros said measles could easily be treated but the bigger
problems were that it opens room for opportunistic bacterial
infections. He said it was these infections such as pneumonia,
coughing or even meningitis that attack one suffering from measles
and eventually could cause death.
[Byline: Joseph Zulu]
HealthMap Alerts via ProMED-mail
[A new outbreak with potential to be explosive has been reported in
Swaziland. The authorities need to exercise a lot of vigilance in
controlling the current outbreak and preventing further cases. The
task team set up therefore needs to identify the cause of the current
outbreaks to guide the initiation of appropriate interventions.
According to the WHO database, annual reported cases of measles from
Swaziland are presented below:
2009 (26) / 2008 (1) / 2007 (0) / 2006 (0) / 2005 (0) / 2000 (10)
For the same period, reported coverages with 1 or more doses of MCV
(measles containing vaccine) were:
2009 (72) / 2008 (69) / 2007 (58) / 2006 (57) / 2005 (60) / 2000 (80)
Information on the coverages with 2 or more doses of MCV is not provided.
The reported coverages less than 90 percent are not coverages that
would prevent transmission of measles virus when introduced.
More information on the age distribution and vaccination histories of
the current cases would be of interest in assessing the current situation.
A map showing the districts of Swaziland can be accessed at
The HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map of Swaziland can be
accessed at http://healthmap.org/r/01uj. - Mods.JFW/MPP]