The Ministry of Health officially declared a measles’ outbreak on 10 June. There have already been 95,335 suspected cases notified since the beginning of 2019, including 1,562 deaths. 23 out of the 26 provinces in the DRC are affected. 83 health districts out of 512 have already confirmed the epidemic.
The outbreak comes on top of an extremely precarious humanitarian situation and high malnutrition rates. The mortality rate during a measles outbreak can reach up to 20% among malnourished children. The current global fatality rate stands at 2.6%.
Over 2.2 million children in 63 health districts benefitted from a measles vaccination campaign in April 2019. However, the large majority (73%) of new suspected cases were either not vaccinated or their vaccination status is unknown. Another vaccination campaign is being prepared for around 1.4 million children under the age of five. This process needs to speed up and medical treatment for affected children is urgently needed.
The current epidemic is a significant increase in comparison to last year when 65,098 cases of measles were reported in total.