Anambra State government said 14 children have died from measles ravaging nine local government areas of the state.
This was disclosed by the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Afam Obidike, in Awka on Wednesday.
According to him, 414 cases of measles have been recorded in nine local government areas in the state.
Obidike listed the affected local government areas as Anambra East, Anambra West, Ayamelum, Ihiala, Idemili North, Nnewi North, Onitsha North, Njikoka, and Oyi.
The commissioner added that support from World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund has helped the state government to curtail the situation.
“In March, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) alerted us of a measles outbreak in nine LGAs in the state. We contacted the WHO) and UNICEF to assist us curtail further spread of the disease.
“The disease spread from nine LGAs to 13 LGAs but with the help of WHO, we activated surveillance and our emergency response team in the affected LGAs and wards.
“Unfortunately, we recorded case fatalities. We lost about 14 children to the Measles outbreak out of 414 cases we had.
“It is something we need to be mindful of because the case fatality is high, about 48 per cent,” he said.
He said 19,609 unvaccinated children from age zero to 59 months had been vaccinated.
The commissioner added that the surrounding communities of the nine local government areas were also vaccinated to prevent the spread of the disease.
He identified the impact of COVID-19 which affected routine immunisation in the state in 2021 as the major reason for the outbreak.
“We also noticed that people living in clusters, poor environmental hygiene practices and poor uptake of vaccines were the other causes of the outbreak in the affected areas.
“We have contacted the Ministries of Environment and Water Resources, to improve environmental hygiene and water supply in those affected areas.
“We will also intensify social mobilisation to encourage residents to receive vaccination. We have activated routine immunisation in the state to prevent future outbreaks,” he said.