Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has activated a national Emergency Operation Centre (EOC), to provide swift response to rising cases of measles in the country.
EOC members were drawn from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), World Health Organisation (WHO), Doctors without borders, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET).
Measles is an acute, highly infectious viral disease that spreads via cough and sneezes, contact with respiratory secretion or aerosol, or close personal contact with a carrier.
It’s vaccine preventable.
NCDC, in its weekly epidemiological report, expressed worry that number of measles cases reported from states in 2019 is far higher than records of the preceding years.
It confirmed that from week 1-9, this year, which ended on March 3, about 7, 429 suspected measles cases were reported, with 342 laboratory confirmed cases.
In week nine alone, NCDC confirmed that 1, 440 suspected cases, with 11 laboratory confirmed cases and three deaths, were reported from 35 states as against 533 suspected cases and two deaths, reported from 34 states during same period in 2018.
In total, 7, 438 suspected measles cases, with 535 laboratory confirmed, and 18 deaths were reported in the first few weeks of 2019, as against 3, 516 suspected cases and 27 deaths that were reported from the 36 states and the FCT, during same period in 2018.
NCDC said it has taken relevant preventive measures, like epidemiology and surveillance, laboratory, risk communication, vaccine and logistics and coordination, to halt further spread of the disease and improve data collection for immunisation and control.
It promised to support states’ public health teams, to prevent and respond to the outbreak and other public health threats, but, advised community members to ensure their children are vaccinated.