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DR Congo fears 1,500 dead from measles epidemic

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Health Desk- 12 June, 2019: Health authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo have declared an epidemic of measles which may have killed 1,500 people, according to statistical analysis, reports AFP.

“We have been seeing an increase in the number of suspected cases of measles since the start of the year, with a total of 87,000 suspected cases” reported by mid-May, Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga said Monday.

“Mortality is estimated at 1.8 percent,” he said.

This rate translates to about 1,500 deaths, the health ministry and aid agency Doctors Without Borders (MSF) estimated.

The minister said medical teams had found cases of measles in 23 out of 26 provinces in the vast central African country.

He announced a renewed, large-scale vaccination programme to try to counter the outbreak.

In April, 2.24 million children aged between six months and 59 months were vaccinated over four days and another immunisation campaign covering 1.4 million children will be launched “in the coming days,” Kalenga said.

A nation the size of continental western Europe, the DRC is also struggling to contain an outbreak of deadly Ebola disease in two eastern provinces.

A total of 1,384 lives have been lost since August 1, according to an official tally.