AT LEAST 30 people have died from an outbreak of measles in the
conflict-torn Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The deaths are from
1 850 cases confirmed in the southern Haut-Katanga Province, closer to
Zambia, since the beginning of the year. Some ten health zones are
affected by the disease, particularly Upper Katanga. Neighbouring
provinces including Lualaba and Haut-Lomami have also confirmed
outbreaks. Health specialists have attributed the situation to a
vicious cycle of factors, among them low coverage of vaccination
campaigns and the mass movement of people, particularly in areas
ravaged by conflict. Some health zones are inaccessible because of the
escalating security situation caused by armed groups. Haut-Katanga is
among several provinces beset by clashes between armed groups and the
military in the vast Central African country. “The majority of health
zones in these provinces are fragile in terms of health because of the
lack of human and technical resources,” said a humanitarian
spokesperson. The official said humanitarian actors were worried about
the spread of the disease in a country already bearing the brunt of
cholera. Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease caused by a
virus. Symptoms include fever cough, runny nose and inflamed eyes.

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