High fever, a sore throat, headache and a red, flat rash all over the body – measles is a so-called children’s disease, that can be life-threatening at worst.
While the number of measles cases dropped significantly in Europe and the U.S. due to vaccinations, the majority of clinical pictures affects the African continent. Since mid-January, the outbreak of a measles epidemic has been reported in the Central African Republic.
After an immediate emergency meeting, isolation measures for patients, information campaigns for the general public and vaccinations, in particular for the attending doctors and caregivers, were initiated. Right on the first days of the outbreak, an additional quarantine ward was set up by our employees in Bossembélé, where our large hospital in the Central African Republic is located. A sufficient number of tents and beds were set up quickly and the medication required was distributed free of charge. Construction technicians and doctors worked in close cooperation. In addition, we provided the district with financial, laboratory and logistical resources for their awareness campaign.
By the end of January, 30 patients or so with measles were treated inpatient in the new quarantine ward. Since then, however, the daily number of new admissions of patients with measles is increasing. Measles is treated in the quarantine ward as the disease is extremely contagious. There is no specific antiviral treatment if measles develops. Patients should adhere to bed rest in the acute phase of the disease, antipyretic agents and cough medicine can help with the symptoms.
“We regularly create parents’ awareness of measles in our hospital. Many do not even know that they cannot let their sick child play with others because the disease is extremely contagious,” said Brigitte Schuhmann. The gynecologist has been working on our project in the Central African Republic since November and devotedly cares for her patients in Bossembélé.