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Borno State government health officials warned to take immediate measures to stop outbreak of measles

11 September 2023
Reading time: 3 minutes

Displaced women have raised the alarm about an outbreak of measles in camps around Maiduguri and have called on health authorities to help contain the disease.

Some internally displaced persons (IDPs) have called on the Borno State government to take whatever measures necessary to stop an outbreak of measles – that has already infected at least eight children in Maiduguri – from spreading.

Women, especially nursing mothers, have asked health authorities to act immediately to contain the disease.
They have asked that adequate health facilities be made available to fast track effective service delivery and proper medical treatment.
Ya Maryam, a displaced woman from the Fariya camp, told RNI that her baby was among the children who had been infected.

“My child has been sick for five days. I thought my baby had a fever but was not too worried because babies get fevers every now and then. But, when I took my child to the clinic, a healthcare worker confirmed that my child had measles.”
Ya Maryam said although no deaths had been recorded in the camp, she believed the government needed to do whatever was necessary to stop the outbreak from spreading.

Adama Algoni, a displaced woman from Madinatu camp, said that her 10-year-old daughter was among the eight children who were infected.

“My young daughter fell sick almost a month ago. I have been using traditional medicine and herbal remedies for 15 days to try to help her recover but she is still ill. I need help from government health authorities so that I can save her life.”

Bintu Bukar Imam, the coordinator of the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) in Borno State, said measles was a childhood infection caused by a virus that could spread easily.
“It can be serious and even fatal for small children. Measles causes a red, blotchy rash that usually appears first on the face and behind the ears, then spreads downwards to the chest and back and finally to the feet.”

She said the signs and symptoms appeared around 10 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. These included fever, dry cough, runny nose, sore throat, inflamed eyes, also known as conjunctivitis, as well as a skin rash made up of large, flat blotches that often flow into one another.

She said the infection occurred in stages over two to three weeks.
Bintu told RNI that the Borno State government had trained health practitioners in various clinics and hospitals across the state on how to handle an outbreak of measles within communities. The training concluded on August 4.

“Although, the state government has already put in place preventive measures by immunising children every nine months, it is imperative for health authorities to focus on this highly contagious disease. There have been confirmed measles cases in some communities and IDP camps, such as Shuwari, Fariya and Madinatu.”
She urged the parents, particularly women, not to rely on herbal remedies or traditional medicines.

“It is advisable for them to take their children to clinics or hospitals for proper medical treatment and they should also take their children to the nearest health facility for measles immunisation,” she said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said measles was one of the most contagious of all infectious diseases; up to nine out of 10 susceptible people with close contact to a measles patient would develop measles. The virus is transmitted by direct contact with infectious droplets or by airborne spread when an infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes.


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