NIGERIA – The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has called on Nigerians to get vaccinated against measles amid the disease outbreak in eight states of the federation.

NCDC is working with state health teams, health facilities and health ministry to conduct second trial vaccination around the community that is affected to contain the disease.

The Center has increased efforts towards measles vaccination for children combined with mass immunization campaigns as key public health strategies to reduce measles deaths.

Measles is a viral infection spread through the air by respiratory droplets produced from coughing and sneezing by those with the infection.

The acute viral respiratory illness is characterized by a very high fever, runny nose, cough, red and watery eyes, small white spots inside the cheeks and a spreading rash all over the body.

The most serious complications include blindness, encephalitis, severe diarrhea and related dehydration, ear infections or severe respiratory infections such as pneumonia and in extreme cases, death.

Measles can however be prevented with measles-containing vaccine which is primarily administered as the combination measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.

In the latest measles report, NCDC revealed that a total of 15,792 suspected cases were reported across 683 local government areas in 2021 while a total of 908 suspected cases have been reported in 29 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

Of the 908 suspected cases reported, 88 were laboratory confirmed, 166 clinically compatible, 148 were discarded and 506 are pending classification,” the Centre added.

The Center announced that thirteen Local Government Areas across eight states have recorded an outbreak of measles in 2022 namely Jigawa, Katsina, Rivers, Enugu, Anambra, Delta, Osun and Sokoto.

 “There is an ongoing outbreak of suspected measles cases in Zamfara but this is awaiting confirmation due to the stock out of measles testing in reagents in the country,” reported the NCDC.

The NCDC listed the affected states as Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, FCT, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara for the northern states.

Whereas, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Imo, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo and Rivers are the affected southern states.

The NCDC highlights that 58.7 per cent of confirmed cases identified have not received a dose of measles vaccine.

The statistics indicate that 54.4 per cent were not vaccinated in Borno, 50 per cent in Akwa Ibom, 66.7 per cent in Delta, 50 per cent in Ekiti, 25 per cent in Lagos, 83.3 per cent in Osun, 8.3 per cent in Oyo and 50 per cent in Rivers.

The measles report further shows that Borno, Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Kwara and Anambra accounted for 55.2 per cent of the 908 suspected cases reported so far.

Nigeria is in dire need of herd immunity hence the need to speed up immunization to curtail the outbreak of the disease as low immunization will continue to give rise to the resurgence of childhood diseases.

Nigeria receives a new batch of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Federal Government has received 859,600 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines and 175 solar direct drive refrigerators donated by the government of Japan.

The Solar Direct Drive Refrigerators have independent and uninterrupted power source for vaccine storage effective in the nation’s effort to defeat the coronavirus pandemic.

Although over 17 million eligible Nigerians have received their first dose of COVID-19 Vaccines, the donation will further strengthen the country’s vaccination coverage.

Nigeria has optimized service delivery, communication, accountability, logistics, electronic management of immunization data and supervision to ramp up vaccine uptake in Nigeria.

In addition, the country has a new strategy named Optimized SCALES which entails the integration of COVID-19 vaccination with childhood routine immunization.

Liked this article? Sign up to receive our regular email newsletters, focused on Africa and World’s healthcare industry, directly into your inbox. SUBSCRIBE HERE