Fear of measles epidemic in Nigeria expanding

Concerns are that a measles epidemic in the northern-Nigerian state of Kano is rapidly expanding. Since January, over 424 people have been admitted to the Infectious Disease Hospital and a paediatric hospital, both in Kano city. Out of that caseload, 84 people died indicating a case fatality rate of almost 20%. At the end of March and early April, the amount of new cases rose rapidly.

MSF is assisting both hospitals by case management, providing drugs, training staff in managing complicated cases, epidemiology and improvement of water, electricity and sanitation facilities.

Still, the epidemic is on the rise. "There have been more and more cases every week and we are not at the peak yet," said Andrew Cunningham, an MSF country manager in Nigeria. "It will be another few weeks before we see the worst."

Fears of a rapid spread of the epidemic outside Kano city have prompted MSF to carry out field assessments, but the results are still pending. Apart from measles, Northern Nigeria is currently also suffering from an outbreak of meningitis - a situation that MSF is currently monitoring.