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Nepal's Measles Outbreak in Children Continues Expanding

March 17, 2023 • 2:56 pm CDT
WHO measles outbreak Nepal November 10, 2023
(Vax Before Travel)

Measles outbreaks increased by about 80% during 2022, and disease experts warned of increasing outbreaks in 2023.

For example, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced an outbreak of measles was confirmed in Nepalgunj sub-metropolitan city (SMC) in Banke district, Nepal, following a cluster of fever and rash cases.

Following the confirmation and through active case search as of March 14, 2023, the index case was identified, with the onset of symptoms on November 24, 2022. Between November 24, 2022, and March 10, 2023, 690 measles cases, including one associated death (case fatality ratio: 0.14 %), were reported from seven districts in western Nepal and three in eastern Nepal (Terai ecological region).

The majority of the cases (n=591; 86%) have been reported in children aged less than 15 years.

While measles is endemic in Nepal and is reported every year, the magnitude and extent of the current outbreak are unusually high compared to the previous years.

Only sporadic isolated measles cases had occurred since 2004 when a significant outbreak of over 12,000 cases was reported. 

The WHO says the risk of the spread of measles is assessed as high at the national level and moderate at the regional level.

Measles is a vaccine-preventable disease, with various vaccines offered at clinics and community pharmacies in the U.S. during 2023.