A growing measles epidemic in the province of Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo, has sickened more than 20,000 people and killed 300 people this year, according to official figures, while resources to combat the outbreak are still lacking, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/MÃ©decins Sans FrontiÃ¨res (MSF) warned today.
More than 20 of Katanga’s 68 health districts are now affected””up from 10 districts in June””but the Congolese government has still not made an official declaration of the epidemic, which may have delayed a timely response.
“Every day we discover new deaths related to measles that have not been accounted for,” said Augustin Ngoyi, MSF coordinator of the response. “In a village of 500 inhabitants two hours’ drive from Kabalo, more than 30 children under 5 years of age have died in the last two months. Their little graves are still visible in the cemetery. This represents one third of this age group in the community.”