CNN, December 29, 2009
Twenty-two people, mainly children below the age of 5, have died of measles in Zimbabwe, the country’s state media reported.
The Herald on Tuesday reported the 22 victims had not been vaccinated, quoting health officials in the troubled country. Ninety cases have been confirmed nationwide, Zimbabwe’s Health and Child Welfare Minister Henry Madzorera told the newspaper.
“This is an unwarranted loss of lives given the fact that measles is a preventable disease,” he said, according to the state-owned Herald. “In Zimbabwe, outbreaks of measles were rare because of sustained high vaccination coverage among all children. It is therefore important for parents to realize that vaccinating their children protects the individual children” from the disease and its complications,” he said.
It is likely to further strain Zimbabwe’s health system, which last year linked nearly 5,000 deaths to a cholera epidemic. In the past three months, five people have died from cholera, but the WHO said the situation will not be as bad as last year.