The African country of DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) on Tuesday declared that the 2-year long measles outbreak is finally over. The outbreak killed more than 7,000 children under the age of five.
Measles (also known as rubeola) is an extremely contagious viral disease. Caused by the ‘morbillivirus’, this disease mainly attacks children. The contagion causes health problems like diarrhoea, blindness, swelling of the brain and severe respiratory diseases.
In Congo, the virus was countered by a large scale vaccination programme. Under the programme, millions of infants and children were immunised.
“For the past month, we are able to say that this epidemic has been eliminated from across our territory….The measles epidemic was unfolding at low level but was the deadliest. It carried off more than 7,000 of our children.” said DRC’s Health Minister EteniLongondo in a press conference.
He also added, “We can say that measles (in the country) no longer exists.”
The outbreak first came to light in June, 2018. As of January 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed about 3,40,000 cases of measles. Out of the total infections, 6,362 cases proved to be fatal.
Measles was once very common among the human population. However, in today’s date, it’s infection rate has decreased drastically. This was achieved by developing an effective and cheap vaccine.
But if the immunisation rate in a community is low, measles can spread very quickly.
The Democratic Republic of Congo, a country the size of Western Europe, has recorded only about 10,000 cases of Covid-19. 251 people lost their lives due to this global pandemic in the Central-African nation.
DRC is not new to killer viral outbreaks. Earlier in June 25 this year, the country got rid of the deadly Ebola epidemic. The viral outbreak killed 2,287 people in the country.
Following DRC’s declaration, the World Health Organisation announced that wild polio virus had been eradicated from the continent of Africa.