Measles outbreak one of probable causes of Keamari deaths: report

Karachi (HRNW) A detailed investigation report by the office of Sindh’s director general health stated that the measles outbreak could be one of the probable causes of deaths in the Keamari area of Karachi which claimed about 15 deaths.

However, a final verdict could only be given after confirmation from the National Institute of Health (NIH), Islamabad, where blood samples had been sent for analysis.

“As many as 49 people were found sick in the area, of which 40 (81%) infected people were in the age group of less than 11 years. All were unvaccinated against vaccine-preventable diseases, including measles. During active search in the community, the investigation team observed cases of suspected measles,” said the report, adding that on the basis of the investigation, measles outbreak could be the cause of deaths, but this needs to be confirmed by the NIH.

The report stated that the children’s deaths include nine girls and six boys, who may have died due to measles.

On the other hand, first responders to the incident, including the district health officer (DHO), reported a very foul smell in the affected area during the visit on January 26, said the report, adding that all the infected persons were living in the surrounding area (10 to 20 feet) of factories of rubber, plastic, stone and oil.

According to the residents of the affected area, a sudden surge of “shortness of breath” cases had surfaced after the start of the factory on January 5.

“Around 26 (53%) cases have been reported from six families. After the closing of factories (January 26), the team and residents observed an absence of foul smell in the infected area during a visit on January 27. So, on the basis of the above findings, an environmental cause, ie the presence of toxic gases, could not be ruled in the deaths,” reads the report.

The report also states that the most affected group was children between two and four years, whose most common symptoms were fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Other symptoms included pneumonia, redness of eyes, burning of eyes, itching in eyes, headache, nausea, dry mouth, dizziness and abdominal cramping. Of the 49 who exhibited any of these symptoms, 26 were living in six houses close to the factories.