Egypt has recorded eight deaths from measles so far this year, with 1,356 infections, marking a slight increase from the annual rate of infection of between 700 and 1,500 cases, head of Health Ministry’s preventive medicine sector Amr Qandil said on Saturday.
Total number of cases infected with the disease in Marsa Matrouh province reached 132 cases, half of which was in Siwa. Ninety-eight cases have been allowed to leave hospital, while 32 cases are still being treated, Qandil added.
Perhaps the most concerning of the outbreak is that all eight deaths ocurred in Siwa, said Mohamed Abu Suleiman, deputy Health Minister in Matrouh, in addition to infection of other 200 patients.
Qandil blamed the spread of infection in Siwa on abstention from taking the necessary vaccines. Only 50 percent of the residents were vaccinated. A team from the sector, currently in the city, is following up with the tribesmen to launch campaigns to vaccinate children below five years and urge examination of children doubted to be infected with the disease.
Meanwhile, parents of infected children accused the local administration of failure and being a reason behind measles spread among the children in the city.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a woman said many people took their children to hospitals and that some children were vaccinated against the disease two years ago, but they were still infected.
Parent of child who died of measles, said, “I took my son to hospital for two hours until he died.”
Another woman said, “The problem is about isolation of the infected children without bathing them. That’s what made the issue bigger. Many of the women in the city believe that once the child is infected, he should be totally isolated and not be bathed, which has contributed to the increasing temperature, convulsion then death.”
An employee from the city central hospital, said the hospital was not reluctant with anyone, but the the disease has spread dramatically. “However, after the medical convoys of health ministry arrived, the situation has gotten better now that some parents have started bringing their children in to have them medically examined as a precautionary measure.”
Abu Suleiman said necessary medicine was provided to them. Medical convoys located in Siwa military hospital follows on the infected ones. Two convoys were sent to Siwa military and central hospitals within measures to control the disease, he added.
The head of the health department in the city indicated a meeting with Siwa tribesmen to stress necessity not to hide cases doubted to be infected with the disease. He also added that awareness campaign were organized at the schools. Officials provided 300 doses of the MMR vaccine as well as 1000 capsules of vitamin A.
Mohamed al-Neinaay, head of a hospital in Siwa, said people still stick to old traditions. They do not go to doctors unless the cases become severe reaching to the skin rash. He added that number of infected cases with measles is increasing. All nurseries were closed with precautionary measures to prevent more infection.
Pediatrician Ayman Saad Ayyad said the disease first appeared two weeks ago. A large number of people went to the central hospital with symptoms of eye inflammation, pneumonia and convulsions. The first death case was a three-year-old child who died once he arrived to the hospital. The second case died in the ambulance on way to Matrouh public hospital.
Ayyad blamed the spread on the public's lack of medical awareness as well as reluctance to receive the necessary vaccinations in correct times.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm