By Yien Gattour
Health authorities in South Sudan’s Unity State have confirmed two deaths and nine cases of measles following an outbreak in Riokriak Payam Rubkona County in the first week of June.
Unity State Health Director General Dr. Duol Biem told the No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper on Thursday that the cases were reported in the first week of June.
“We have confirmed nine cases and two deaths of measles among recurrence, and 17 cases are still suspected cases of measles from the outbreak,” Dr. Duol disclosed.
He said samples taken to Juba were returned last week, indicating positive results.
Among the 26 confirmed cases, most of them were children, and there are two measles death cases, but some are in severe conditions,” he said.
Dr. Duol said they are worried that the infectious disease would spread in the nearby congested Riokiah Payam in Rubkona County of Unity State and among those displaced by war in the Republic of Sudan.
Guit recorded two cases, Mayom recorded three cases, and some suspected cases have been registered in Bentiu town.
He disclosed that they are planning to evacuate children with severe measles to a health facility in Riokriak Payam run by the Relief World Organization.
The director added that they were working with the World Health Organisation and other humanitarian partners to conduct a measles public awareness campaign to disseminate prevention messages to the population, especially in Rioriak Payam in Rubkona.
On February 23, a measles outbreak was declared in South Sudan in the three counties of Torit, Maban, and Tambura in the Eastern Equatoria, Upper Nile, and Western Equatoria states, respectively.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that affects mostly children. It is one of the leading causes of death and disability among young children.
There is no specific treatment for measles, but there is a vaccine to stay protected from the disease, which is both safe and cost-effective.