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Measles outbreak kills 157 children in Zimbabwe

A child receives a vaccination against measles during a campaign in Juba, South Sudan February 4, 2020. Photo: Reuters

157 children have died in Zimbabwe from a measle outbreak with the death toll nearly doubling in just under a week, the information minister said on Tuesday.

Reuters reports that the government last week blamed apostolic church sects for the surge in infections, saying measles was largely prevalent among those who had not received vaccinations.

Suspected cases nationwide have jumped from 1,036 to 2,056 in four days, information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said in a post-cabinet briefing.

Most reported cases are among children aged between six months and 15 from religious sects that do not believe in vaccination.

“It has been noted that most cases have not received vaccination to protect against measles. Government has invoked the Civil Protection Unit Act to deal with this emergency,” Mutsvangwa said.

The measles outbreak is set to pose a further strain on Zimbabwe’s health sector, which has long suffered from a lack of drugs and strikes by health workers.

Writing by Muzha Kucha