A measles outbreak has been confirmed in Kampala and the neighbouring Wakiso district.
A statement released this morning by the acting director general of health services at the ministry of Health Dr Anthony Mbonye, revealed that 67 cases have so far been recorded, with seven of these already corroborated by lab tests.
“Avoid direct contact with children infected or suspected to be infected with the disease,” Dr Mbonye said, advising that any infected persons should be rushed to hospital immediately.
Parents are advised to take all unvaccinated children under the age of 5 for immunisation against this deadly disease which can cause death if not managed by qualified health personnel.
All five divisions of Kampala are affected, according to the statement with children under the age of one forming the majority of cases.
Measles, or rubeola, is an airborne viral infection of the respiratory system. It is a very contagious disease that can spread through contact with infected mucus and saliva. An infected person can release the infection into the air when they cough or sneeze.
The measles virus can live on surfaces for several hours. As the infected particles enter the air and settle on surfaces, anyone within close proximity can become infected.
Drinking from an infected person’s glass, or sharing eating utensils with an infected person, increases your risk of infection.
Measles is a leading cause of death in children. Of the 114,900 global deaths related to measles in 2014, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that most of the victims were under the age of 5.
Contact a doctor immediately if you suspect you have measles.
If you have not received a measles vaccine and you come into contact with an infected person, visit your doctor to receive a measles vaccine within 72 hours of contact to prevent infection. You can also prevent an infection with a dose of immunoglobulin taken within six days of contact with an infected person.
Some early symptoms of the disease, according to the health ministry statement, include: high fever, whooping cough, red and swollen eyelids, muscle aches, irritability, rashes, running nose and watery eyes.