Syndromic surveillance of potentially epidemic infectious diseases: Detection of a measles epidemic in two health centers in Gabon, Central Africa

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Pater Noster Sir-Ondo-Enguier
Edgard Brice Ngoungou
Yves-Noel Nghomo
Larson Boundenga
Priscille Moupiga-Ndong
Euloge Ibinga
Xavier Deparis
Jean-Bernard Lékana-Douki *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Jean-Bernard Lékana-Douki | lekana_jb@yahoo.fr

Abstract

Measles is a respiratory disease caused by the measles virus (MV) belonging to the Paramyxovirus family and the Morbillivirus genus. Due to a failure in maintaining immunization coverage in some countries, measles is a re-emerging disease in the human population, especially in Africa. The aim of this study was to describe a measles epidemic in Gabon. At first, a syndromic surveillance was set up. Blood samples from febrile patients with maculopapular rash were taken and sent to the measles reference center in Cameroon for laboratory confirmation. Between March and May 2016, 79 clinically suspected cases were reported including 82.3% (n=65) and 17.7% (n=14) in Oyem and Libreville, respectively. In total, 39.2% (n=31) of children were 11 months-old, 34.2% (n=27) were children aged 1 to 4 years, 11.4% (n=9) were older children from 5 to 9 years, 6.3% (n=5) of children were aged 10 to 15 years and 8.9% (n=7) were 15 years and older. 53.3% (16/30) were laboratory confirmed. This measles outbreak reiterates the importance of maintaining a high level of vaccine coverage in Gabon for vaccine-preventable diseases, as well as the usefulness of a near-real-time surveillance system for the detection of infectious diseases.


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