Published On: Wed, Jun 19th, 2013

7,000 measles cases reported in northern Syria: MSF

In a follow up to a story two weeks ago Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is reporting a measles epidemic spreading across northern Syria where up to 7,000 cases of the viral respiratory disease has been reported.

MSF reports vaccinating some 75,000  children in the provinces of Aleppo, Ar-Raqqah and Idlib in an attempt to get the epidemic under control.


Syrian refugee children Image/Video Screen Shot

Syrian refugee children
Image/Video Screen Shot

Since the civil war started some two years ago, Syria’s routine vaccination program was disrupted throughout much of the country, leaving thousands of children unprotected.

To date, the mortality rate in this current measles outbreak has been low; however, MSF officials warn measles increases children’s vulnerability to other infections, and when basic medical care is unavailable, complications arising from measles can be life-threatening.

“Carrying out a vaccination campaign in a polarised conflict such as this one is proving extremely difficult,” says Teresa Sancristóval, MSF’s emergency desk manager, “but vaccination campaigns and basic healthcare are as much needed as war surgery.”

The measles epidemic is a sign of the worsening humanitarian situation in northern Syria and the desperate situation in which much of the population is living, according to the MSF news report.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Measles is a highly contagious viral disease, which affects mostly children. It is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons. Initial symptoms, which usually appear 10–12 days after infection, include high fever, runny nose, bloodshot eyes, and tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth. Several days later, a rash develops, starting on the face and upper neck and gradually spreading downwards.

There is no specific treatment for measles and most people recover within 2–3 weeks. However, particularly in malnourished children and people with reduced immunity, measles can cause serious complications, including blindness, encephalitis, severe diarrhoea, ear infection and pneumonia. Measles can be prevented by immunization.

See the WHO Measles Fact Sheet

Also read: Lucy Liu visits Syrian refugee children in Lebanon settlement: ‘This is a children’s crisis and it’s only getting worse’

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Heidi Stevenson – Fake Measles Epidemic and Censorship | Illuminutti says:

    […] 7,000 measles cases reported in northern Syria: MSF (theglobaldispatch.com) […]

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