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Fresh measles epidemic claims 18 lives in Bayelsa

By Jimitota Onoyume
YENAGOA — A fresh outbreak of measles epidemic has reportedly claimed the lives of 18 children in the riverine settlement of Onewari in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
Several others infected with the deadly virus are receiving medical attention at different Health centres in communities in the council area.

The outbreak of the disease is now causing panic among the natives who are yet to recover from the deadly attacks recorded between December last year and February this year in which over forty children lost their lives.

The serene fishing and farming riverine settlement is now a ghost town as most of the natives had fled their homes for fear of their children contracting the deadly ailment which has thrown most homes into fresh mourning.

Medical sources told Vanguard that the attack of the deadly virus could have been minimal had parents and guardians in the area responded to the routine immunization exercise being embarked upon by the relevant authorities.

It was however learnt that the Supervisor for Health in the council, Timipa Ogon, was working round the clock to prevent the spread of the virus to other adjoining communities with a view to reducing the mortality rate.

Confirming the incident, the Spokesperson for the Council, Easterday Ayibatairi, said the situation was under control, as some Health Officers in the Council have been mobilised to the community to arrest the situation.

Ayibatairi said the mobilisation of the Health Officers to the measles-stricken area, was to ensure the disease does not spread to other neighbouring communities.

Indications are rife that the State Ministry of Health will dispatch a team of medical personnel to the setting, to check the measles outbreak and also sensitise parents on the need to immunize their children.

It would be recalled that between December last year and February this year, a measles outbreak killed over forty children in Okpotuwari and Ondewari communities in Southern Ijaw local government.

The outbreak erupted at Okpotuwari and later spread to Ondewari community, before medical personnel and health workers in the state stopped the disease from spreading further.


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