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Description of a large measles epidemic in Democratic Republic of Congo, 2010-2013

  • 2014/07/03
Type of publication
  • Articles
Authors
  • Mancini S
  • coldiron me
  • Ronsse A
  • Ilunga BK
  • Porten K
  • Grais RF
Themes
  • Rougeole
BACKGROUND
Although measles mortality has declined dramatically in Sub-Saharan Africa, measles remains a major public health problem in countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Here, we describe the large measles epidemic that occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo between 2010 and 2013 using data from the national surveillance system as well as vaccine coverage surveys to provide a snapshot of the epidemiology of measles in DRC.
 
METHODS
Standardized national surveillance data were used to describe measles cases from 2010 to 2013. Attack rates and case fatality ratios were calculated and the temporal and spatial evolution of the epidemic described. Data on laboratory confirmation and vaccination coverage surveys as a part of routine program monitoring are also presented.
 
FINDINGS
Between week 1 of 2010 and week 45 of 2013, a total of 294,455 cases and 5,045 deaths were reported. The cumulative attack rate (AR) was 0.4%. The Case Fatality Ratio (CFR) was 1.7% among cases reported in health structures through national surveillance. A total of 186,178 cases (63%) were under 5 years old, representing an estimated AR of 1.4% in this age group. Following the first mass vaccination campaigns, weekly reported cases decreased by 21.5%. Results of post-vaccination campaign coverage surveys indicated sub-optimal (under 95%) vaccination coverage among children surveyed.
 
CONCLUSIONS
The data reported here highlight the need to seek additional means to reinforce routine immunization as well as ensure the timely implementation of Supplementary Immunization Activities to prevent large and repeated measles epidemics in DRC. Although reactive campaigns were conducted in response to the epidemic, strategies to ensure that children are vaccinated in the routine system remains the foundation of measles control.