South Sudan measles outbreak raises questions about vaccines

KUAJOK, South Sudan (AP) — Despondent, Akon Mathiong points to two small mounds of dirt where she buried her grandsons, 4 and 5 years old, last month. They died after contracting measles in one of the worst-hit areas of South Sudan’s latest outbreak.

The family says the boys had been vaccinated against the highly infectious disease. Similar infections are prompting questions about whether some vaccines have been compromised in a country largely devastated by conflict.

As South Sudan emerges from a five-year civil war, more than 750 measles cases, including seven deaths, have been reported since January. That’s almost six times the number of cases for all of 2018, according to World Health Organization data.

The increase in measles cases is part of a global one, in part because of misinformation around vaccines.

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