Measles outbreak worries Masaka authorities

Masaka Municipality authorities have embarked on a mass measles vaccination campaign following a reported outbreak of the disease in Masaka district.

According Musa Maberi, the Masaka Municipality Medical officer, a total of 22,626 children are being targeted for vaccination.

The campaign dubbed the, ‘Mini-mass immunization campaign,’ came at the heels of an outbreak of measles in the district that has so far claimed the lives of two children.

The two-day exercise is going to be conducted at 26 health facilities.

“We have chosen weekend (Saturday and Sunday) because most of the children will be at home and we urge parents to comply,” Maberi said.

Brenda Kiyingi, the Assistant District Health Officer said, they had not expected the outbreak to be a serious one.

“We so far have over 18 cases, which is a bigger number. The outbreak started from Lwengo and spread to Masaka since we are neighbors,” Kiyingi said.

She recommended that all children including all those who were immunized before are immunized again to avoid more outbreaks.

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Health announced an outbreak of measles in 26 districts across the country, with Amuru in northern Uganda, Kamuli, Mbale, and Butebo in the east of the country as being most affected.

Measles is an acute and highly contagious viral disease that occurs primarily in children and is characterized by a running nose, dry hacking cough, conjunctivitis, or swollen eyelids and inflamed eyes, watery eyes, and photophobia, or sensitivity to light.

Other symptoms include sneezing, a reddish-brown rash, and very small greyish-white spots with bluish-white centers in the mouth, insides of cheeks, and throat as well as generalized body aches.

The disease lasts three to four days and can be damaging to a foetus during the first trimester. Records from the World Health Organization show that it kills an estimated 2.6 million people every year.