Measles has reemerged as a public health concern in Zambia, with the outbreak now affecting 37 districts across the country. The situation, as reported by the Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI), reveals the urgent need for vaccination and medical attention to contain the spread of the highly contagious disease.
According to a measles situational report the outbreak has not spared any of Zambia’s ten provinces, affecting both urban and rural areas. As of October 4th, 2023, the cumulative number of suspected measles cases reached a worrying 1,651, with 469 cases confirmed through laboratory testing.
The report highlights that the majority of the affected individuals are children under the age of five, many of whom were not vaccinated against measles, which significantly increases their vulnerability to the disease.
ZNPHI’s Communication Information and Research Director, Mazyanga Liwewe, emphasized the need for vaccination as the primary means of preventing measles. Measles is known for its high level of contagiousness, making vaccination crucial for controlling its spread and minimizing its impact on the population.
Dr. Liwewe further encouraged individuals who exhibit symptoms associated with measles, such as high fever, cough, a runny nose, and a characteristic rash covering the body, to seek immediate medical attention at the nearest health facilities. Early diagnosis and proper medical care are essential not only to address individual cases but also to help prevent further transmission within the community.
The outbreak of measles serves as a stark reminder of the importance of maintaining high vaccination coverage, particularly among vulnerable populations such as young children. Vaccination programs are vital in safeguarding public health and preventing the resurgence of preventable diseases.