Many Northern Nigerian states have reported cases of measles.
The Minister of State for Health, Dr Muhammad Pate, on Thursday attributed the recent outbreak of measles to parents’ refusal to immunise their children.
Mr. Pate said in Abuja that the measles vaccine was provided by the Federal Government to be administered for free in furtherance of its routine immunisation programme.
“The measles outbreak is a manifestation of the refusal of parents to immunise children; for years we have been saying routine immunisation is very important; the federal government provided free vaccines and it has been working with the state governments,” he said.
He said children immunised against measles would not contact the virus, saying most cases of measles were seen among children that had not been given the vaccine.
Pate advised clerics’ preaching against any immunisation to desist from it, as such was causing harm to Nigerian children.
“Where children are immunised, they don’t contract measles; most of the cases of measles that have been seen are from children that have not be immunized; now people are running around saying there is an outbreak; well, there were vaccines and yet people did not immunise their children,” he said.
The World Health Organisation, WHO, describes measles as a highly contagious viral disease, which affects children mostly.
WHO further says the disease is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons with initial symptoms, which usually appear 10 to12 days after infection.
The symptoms include high fever, runny nose, bloodshot eyes, and tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth.
Several days later, rashes develop, starting on the face and upper neck and gradually spreading downwards.
Fresh measles outbreak has killed at least 36 children and infected no fewer than 4,000 children in northern Nigeria between February 16 and March 9.
States most affected are Niger, Kaduna, Kebbi, Katsina, Bauchi and Enugu.