Measles, a highly contagious and serious disease, still wreaks havoc on Africa due to poverty and ignorance. A United Nations spokesperson said on Friday that 17,584 people have contracted this disease and 114 have died from it in Ethiopia, reported CBS.
The World Health Organization estimates that 2 million Ethiopian children are at risk of contracting this disease. Meanwhile, there have been at least 462 cases among Somali refugee children.
Cases of measles have also been reported in the US, some of which resulted from traveling to foreign countries.
Measles is an airborne virus that infects the respiratory system. It causes fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, and rashes. The infection weakens the body and causes fatal complications like pneumonia.
In many ways, measles is a poor country's disease.
Simple immunizations are highly effective against it. In most industrialized countries, virtually the entire population is immunized, which makes the contraction of this disease even less likely.
In case of contraction, there is no cure. However, measles patients in developed countries are placed in supportive care and doctors are active in combating complications.
In poor countries like those in sub-Saharan Africa, however, immunization is inconsistent and living conditions are often unsanitary and overcrowded.
Upon contraction, many patients received inadequate treatment. Moreover, some of them are already mal-nutritioned or have debilitating diseases like AIDS.
Governments in developing countries and charitable organizations are aware of this problem and often run campaigns to immunize and educate the population. Nevertheless, measles is still a serious and fatal problem in many parts of sub-Sahara Africa.