The DRC is facing a resurgence in measles cases. Nearly 180,000 suspected cases were reported in 2019. 76% of these are children under five and in the 3,559 measles-associated deaths reported, they accounted for 88%.
The increase in cases and geographical spread of the measles outbreak has seen 484 out of 519 health zones affected. North Kivu and Ituri provinces, which are also struggling with an Ebola outbreak, are seeing a gradual increase in new measles cases, with an average of 297 cases per week in Ituri and 175 in North Kivu.
63% of confirmed cases had not been vaccinated (or their vaccination status could not be determined). According to the World Health Organisation, “the massive resurgence of measles in DRC is … due to suboptimal routine immunisation coverage and inadequate implementation of supplementary immunisation activities”. Another aggravating factor is high malnutrition among children.
A vaccination campaign in 63 health zones in April brought about a steady decline in new cases in these areas. Further vaccination campaigns are being prepared. $12.35 million is needed, with only $4 million available so far.