Ward opened at local hospital

Measles outbreak declared in north Basra areas

BASRA – The Basra Health Department has identified Al-Medina, Al-Qurna, and Az Al-Din Salim as measles hotspots following a spike in cases. Rafid Al-Shawi, the district commissioner of Al-Medina in northern Basra, announced the opening of an infectious disease ward at Al-Medina Hospital to accommodate the affected individuals.

Al-Shawi emphasized the urgent situation in Al-Medina and Al-Qurna, with the Basra Health Department advising that all suspected cases be treated as confirmed infections.

To combat the outbreak, a vaccination campaign is underway in Al-Medina District, targeting residents to halt the disease’s spread. A health official noted a rise in measles cases, particularly among children in Al-Medina, Al-Qurna, and the Al-Huwayr area, stressing that the infections are more prevalent in remote areas where vaccination rates are low.

Adults, too, are at risk, with vaccinated individuals showing resilience against the disease. Symptoms include fever, itching, red eyes, and a skin rash.

In response to the outbreak, Al-Medina Hospital has dedicated two halls in its infectious disease ward to measles patients, a measure mirrored by Al-Qurna Hospital to manage the growing number of cases.

To combat measles, a highly contagious disease, global health organizations have launched extensive vaccination campaigns, recognizing the vaccine as safe, effective, and cost-efficient. Despite significant progress, including a dramatic reduction in measles-related deaths since the widespread vaccine adoption in 1980, recent surges in cases highlight ongoing challenges.

These include vaccine access issues, hesitancy, and disruptions due to conflict.

The World Health Organization’s Global Vaccine Action Plan aims to eliminate measles in several regions by enhancing vaccination coverage, improving outbreak response, and increasing public trust in vaccines.