Somalia: Measles outbreak in south

NAIROBI, 13 February (IRIN) - Three children have died in an outbreak of measles in the Middle Juba region of southern Somalia, according to an international aid agency operating in the area.
The outbreak reportedly started in and around the town of Sakow, some 540 km southwest of the capital Mogadishu, on Monday, World Vision (WV) Somalia said.

"As of yesterday [Wednesday] we had about 20 cases, but expect the numbers to increase as infected people are brought in from outlying villages," the organisation said. So far, at least eight villages had reported infections.

In a statement, WV said its medical team leader, Dr Abdi Ali, had flown from Bakol Region, south-central Somalia, to the affected area with drugs to start treatment.

Dr Ngini, a WV health officer, was quoted as saying that medical personnel, once on the scene, "will identify, isolate and treat the infected children". "What we are doing is damage control - treat the cases and prevent further spread. Immunisation will be done later," he said.

WV medical staff are reportedly meeting local elders on Thursday with a view to mounting a public awareness campaign to encourage people to bring in their sick for treatment.


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