Measles outbreak in Congo kills 106 children

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Congolese health officials have announced that a recent outbreak of the measles has left 106 children dead.

The officials said that at least 90 of deaths were located within the Katanga province.

The medical aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has said that there have been approximately 21,000 measles cases centered on five provinces located in the large central African nation. The aid group has given 1.5 million vaccinations since late last year, but is looking for help to continue its effort to stop the outbreak.

Since 2008, funding cuts have contributed to the spreading of measles where it was once thought to be eradicated. The total number of cases has surged and there have been outbreaks reported in 20 African nations.

“The zone where the epidemic is prevalent is growing fast” Gaël Hankenne, the MSF head of mission in the Congo, said. “So far we can cope with the situation but the outbreak is moving north very quickly and it is going to be impossible for us to tackle.”

According to MSF, measles can kill up to 15 percent of children affected in unvaccinated populations and up to 25 percent in groups that are vulnerable, including those with limited healthcare access.

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