Democratic Republic of Congo: At least 20,000 infected in measles outbreak, says UN

| August 24, 2015

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The United Nations said last week that a measles outbreak in Katanga Province has killed 315 people and infected at least 20,000.

Measles is a highly contagious virus that is often followed by potentially deadly complications such as diarrhoea, dehydration, respiratory infection, and encephalitis.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, states in a draft report that there are likely hundreds of additional deaths in Katanga which have been undocumented because of difficulties in accessing remote areas.

OCHA says that more than US$2.4 million will be needed to organize vaccination drives and treat those already infected in Katanga.

The World Health Organization warned last November that progress toward wiping out measles has stalled worldwide due to poor vaccine coverage.

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Photo credit: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson