Tens of Thousands Infected in Measles Outbreak in Madagascar; Over 300 Dead

Measles found Hasina Raharimandimby and her family. Over three heartbreaking days in late January, three of her young children died of the virus.

“I miss taking them sweets and snacks for them whenever I came back home from work,” she says. “We used to play and feed the birds near our home.”

Madagascar, the island nation off the coast of East Africa, has been hammered by its worst measles outbreak in decades. The secretary general of the ministry of health told CNN that more than 50,000 people have caught the disease since October 2018 and there have been more than 300 deaths — mostly children.

Hasina has brought her youngest surviving child to this clinic on a hillside in the center of Antananarivo because he has a cough.

After his siblings died, he was vaccinated during one of the four planned rounds of a massive campaign orchestrated by the government, UNICEF and the World Health Organization.

The doctor tells her the cough is nothing to worry about. It’s just a common cold.

Because of its relative rarity in the developed world, measles is sometimes incorrectly regarded as a mild virus with limited impact. But it can take hold rapidly and cause encephalitis, deafness and in extreme cases, death, especially when a patient is malnourished or has a weakened immune system.

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SOURCE: David McKenzie and Brent Swails, CNN