Monday, 15 April, 2024
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More than 100 epidemic emergencies in Africa since January

Since the start of this year, Africa has recorded 44 disease outbreaks, contributing to 104 active epidemic emergencies on the continent, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

The headline diseases were cholera, measles, dengue fever, Lassa fever, meningitis, chikungunya, monkeypox, diphtheria and the West Nile virus, reports News24.

Cholera
Cholera has been detected in 15 African countries so far this year: Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Comoros, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa and Somalia.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been 8 440 confirmed cases and 45 939 suspected cases.

Zambia has been the worst affected, with 18 139 cases and 577 deaths. Zimbabwe followed with 13 105 cases and 182 deaths.

South Africa is the least affected with only two cases, both traced to having originated in Zimbabwe, and no deaths.

Measles
Cases of measles have been detected in Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, the Republic of Congo, DRC, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Somalia, Uganda and Zambia.

There were 1 977 confirmed cases and 885 deaths, as well as 37 769 suspected cases, Africa CDC said.

The DRC is the most affected country, with 22 285 suspected cases and 703 deaths. The outbreak was reported in all the country’s 26 districts.

Vaccination remains low in the DRC, with the report highlighting that vaccination for children older more than five stood at 57% in 2018.

Mpox
Since the beginning of 2024, four African countries have reported 268 confirmed cases and 3 023 suspected cases. The DRC is the most affected, with 3 190 reported cases and 249 deaths.

Only one death has been reported outside the DRC, in Cameroon. In the first week of March, cases were detected in Cameroon, the CAR, the Republic of Congo and the DRC.

Diphtheria
So far this year cases have been recorded in Chad (204 cases, no deaths), Guinea (1 444 cases and 11 deaths) and Nigeria (3 119 cases and 33 deaths).

Mosquito-borne diseases
Also known as “breakbone fever” because of the physical pain sufferers feel, dengue fever has been detected in six African countries. Chad has had 983 cases and no deaths, Ethiopia has had 1 725 cases and two deaths, and Mali has reported 1 909 cases and no deaths.

Chikungunya is sometimes confused with dengue because it causes similar symptoms like fever, muscle discomfort, headache and rash. Only four cases have been detected in Senegal, with no deaths. The country also recorded two cases of the West Nile Virus.

Lassa and meningitis
With 4 657 cases, Lassa fever has resulted in 130 deaths this year. Cases were detected in Guinea (28 cases and two deaths), Liberia (33 cases with no deaths), and Nigeria (4 596 cases and 128 deaths).

The fever is found in 27 of Nigeria’s 37 states. Cases in the country are linked to an outbreak reported in January 2022. Mali has recorded 83 suspected bacterial meningitis cases, of which there have been 19 confirmed cases and no deaths.

Nigeria has also recorded 1 770 suspected cases and 101 confirmed cases, with 157 deaths.

 

News24 article – Africa under the microscope: Continent has 44 disease outbreaks and 104 active epidemic emergencies (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

Africa battles triple burden of malaria/cholera/measles

 

Malawi runs out of cholera vaccines as cases rise

 

Call for action as DRC mpox spreads via heterosexuals

 

Lassa fever cases rise in Nigeria

 

Spike in Covid cases as Zambia battles cholera outbreak

 

Immunisations drop as Africa’s faith in vaccines plunges

 

 

 

 

 

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