Thirty-seven more cases of measles have been identified in an outbreak in Kebbi state, Nigeria. Of the over 250 cases recorded so far, seven children have died from the disease in the past two weeks.
Measles, sometimes called rubeola, is an extremely contagious respiratory disease. The measles virus causes fever, runny nose, cough, and rash all over the body. It is transmitted through contact with contaminated droplets spread by breathing, coughing, or sneezing. Transmission occurs anywhere between four days before the rash appears to four days after it appears.
Officials in the area are collaborating with the federal government and NGOs to provide treatment to patients. The regional director of health, Malam Yusuf Sani, has asked patients to monitor their children to prevent further transmission.
Each year, there are 20 million cases of measles and 200,000 deaths worldwide. Most cases occur in countries with weak health infrastructures. The MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine is safe and effective against the disease. The CDC recommends that children receive two doses of the MMR vaccine in order to be sufficiently protected.