Uganda: Measles outbreak alert

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The Republic of Uganda


Office of the Director General Health Services - Public Relations Unit Director General's Office: 256-414-340872 Fax: 256-41-4231584



Kampala - 08/08/2016 — The Ministry of Health wishes to inform the public that there is an outbreak of Measles in some parts of the country. According to surveillance reports, a number of cases have been confirmed in Kamwenge district and Kamuli district in the sub counties of; Butandisi, Nawanago, Balawoli, Nabwigulu and Kamuli Municipality. The most affected are children above 5 years up to 14 years of age. Kamwenge district is facing the second outbreak of Measles which has been attributed to a number of factors including the high influx of refugees from neighboring DRC, religious cults like the Triple 6, cultural attachments and attitudes towards accessing health services.

Measles is an airborne disease that affects mainly children aged between 6 months to 10 years although it can also affect adults. It is spread through air and contact with an infected person. Some early symptoms of measles include high fever, hacking cough, and red, swelling eyelids, muscle and body aches, irritability, running nose, watery eyes and finally rashes. Approximately 20 percent of people with measles develop one or more complications associated with the disease. These early symptoms of measles usually last three to four days, although they can last as little as one day or as long as eight days, before the measles rash begins. One to two days before the rash appears, small red lesions with blue-white centers appear on the inside of the mouth and tongue, and occasionally on the whites of the eyes or inside the intestines.

The Government is undertaking a number of measures to control further spread of the disease. These include;

  • Increased Measles surveillance,
  • Conducting sensitization programmes to educate masses about the signs, symptoms and dangers of the diseases
  • Undertaking mass immunization programmes of children.

The Ministry of Health appeals to the public to take the following measures to avert the spread of the disease.

  • Avoid direct contact with children infected with the disease
  • Report and immediately take any suspected children to nearby health facilities