WHO: 39 people die from measles in South Sudan in 4 months


A child get a measles jab during a mass vaccination drive in Kenya's Mandera County. [File, Standard]

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday that 39 people have died from measles since January in South Sudan, with a case fatality rate of 1.7 percent.

The UN health agency, in an epidemiological report released in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, reported a total of 2,271 suspected measles cases, with 146 lab-confirmed cases.

"The observed surge in suspected measles cases, with a peak in week 10 and a steady decline since then, indicates an effective increase in interruption efforts," the report said.

The WHO said that the high discrepancy between suspected and confirmed cases highlights a critical need for enhanced sample collection and robust laboratory testing to ensure accurate diagnosis. Improving these aspects will aid in more precise outbreak investigation and reporting, allowing for more targeted public health interventions and resource allocation, according to the report.

The WHO said that there is no ongoing outbreak, but eight counties reporting suspected/confirmed cases have yet to reach the outbreak threshold, warranting further investigation and laboratory validation. In coordination with partners and the Ministry of Health, the WHO is preparing kits to aid in case management in counties experiencing an epidemic.

"The Ministry of Health, the WHO and partners are intensifying measles case management, surveillance and risk communication in locations with suspected and confirmed outbreaks," the agency said.