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Sudan's measles outbreak update: 43 deaths

August 14 - 2015 KHARTOUM
Vaccinations in Darfur (Banluta/WHO)
Vaccinations in Darfur (Banluta/WHO)

The Sudanese Ministry of Health has confirmed the deaths of 43 people who had been infected with measles at the end of July. There were nearly 3,000 confirmed cases, in one of the worst measles outbreaks in Sudan's recent history.

In April, 22 people had died from measles in Sudan, according to the United Nations Children Fund (Unicef). The number of confirmed cases has since risen from 1,730 to 2,896. The measles outbreak started in December 2014 and has affected 61 localities across all 18 states in Sudan.

The majority of cases (72 percent) were children under 15 years, with the highest number of cases reported in the states of West Darfur (666), Kassala (516) and Red Sea (432). The highest number of deaths (14) was reported in East Darfur, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The Health Ministry has stated that insufficient funds hamper the implementation of a country-wide immunisation campaign, putting some 16.5 million children between six months and 15 years at risk of the disease.

Children living in inaccessible areas of Blue Nile and South Kordofan states and parts of Darfur's East Jebel Marra, however, remain completely out of reach by measles vaccination campaigns, and many have not received routine immunisations since 2011, according to OCHA.

Near the end of June, the Ministry, with the support from Unicef and the World Health Organization (WHO), has vaccinated a total of 6.3 million of the targeted children, about 79 percent. This number represents an estimated 38 percent of the 16.5 million children of the same age group in the country.

OCHA further reproted that investigations have revealed that the majority of deaths are associated with underlying malnutrition.

Source: Sudanese Ministry of Health, UNOCHA

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