Zimbabwe health ministry has said that a recent measles outbreak has so far killed at least 698 people.
191 new cases and 37 deaths were reported in a single day on September 1, 2022.
A nationwide vaccination program is currently ongoing to fight the spread of the disease, according to health officials.
“As at 03 September 2022, Zimbabwe had 6 206confirmed cases, including 4 440 recoveries and 698 deaths,” the ministry said in a post on Twitter.
Measles Update: As at 03 September 2022, Zimbabwe had 6 206confirmed cases, including 4 440 recoveries and 698 deaths. pic.twitter.com/Pu1UEiwsyg
— Ministry of HealthZW (@MoHCCZim) September 4, 2022
The government said some religious sects who do not believe in vaccination and rely on prayers are playing a role in the spread of the disease.
The country’s information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said last month that children aged between six months and 15 years were succumbing to the disease, especially from religious sects.
Mutsvangwa said the government is reaching out to faith leaders to get their support and awareness.
Measles is a viral infection that’s serious for small children but is easily preventable by a vaccine.
The disease spreads through the air by respiratory droplets produced from coughing or sneezing.
Measles symptoms don’t appear until 10 to 14 days after exposure. They include cough, runny nose, inflamed eyes, sore throat, fever and a red, blotchy skin rash.
There’s no treatment to get rid of an established measles infection, but over-the-counter fever reducers or vitamin A may help with symptoms.