By Manas James
Health officials have declared an outbreak of measles in Ayod County in Jonglei State, with more than 34 cases including eight deaths since last month.
In an interview with No. 1 Citizen Newspaper, the county health director, Maker Mathot Nyuon said they declared the outbreak on 26 July after samples sent to National Public Health Laboratory in Juba a week earlier tested positive for the highly contagious viral disease.
“Cases of Measles are on the rise in Ayod County. So far there are 26 active cases and 8 deaths in Pajiek, Pagoang, Kwashdeng, and Ayod areas,” he said. “On 18 July, we sent 5 samples to Juba, and we received results on 2 July, confirming measles outbreak, with Keer and Gul as the worst hit areas.”
The health official said they are alarmed by the outbreak and that partners were being engaged for intervention.
Meanwhile, James Chuol Jiek, the Ayod County commissioner, appealed for aid.
“Health situation is dire in Ayod County. Measles cases are on the rise without any vaccination. So, we appealed for intervention,” he said.
So far, there are 42 children who passed away in Pajiek, Pagoang, and Ayod Centre payams, Chuol added.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease, marked by fever, cough, and red spots on the skin and is spread by coughing and contact with fluids from mouth and nose of the infected.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the disease remains an important cause of death among young children globally, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine.