Measles outbreak among children in Turkmenistan: why do the authorities fail to act?

The number of children infected with measles is growing inexorably in the capital of Turkmenistan. Now there are already hundreds of them, and they are currently in the hospital of the Centre for Prevention of Infectious Diseases in Choganly. This was reported by Radio Azatlyk citing health and education officials in Ashgabat.

According to correspondents, children infected with measles continue to attend kindergartens, and preschool institutions continue to function because their employees have not yet received instructions from the Ministry of Education. Therefore, there is still a risk of measles spreading among young children attending kindergartens.

However, local officials do not seem to care much about the spread of the virus. Without bringing information to the top leadership, including the president, the situation is getting worse every day. This is the opinion of an anonymous source who commented on the situation.

In the meantime, the parents of the already hospitalized children are in trouble: the children in the infectious diseases ward are isolated, and it is impossible to give them food. They are only allowed to order food from the hospital canteen. It is difficult to find out from doctors about the child’s condition due to the huge number of young patients, and the doctors cannot pay attention to each parent individually.

The measles outbreak has also affected other Central Asian countries. In Kazakhstan, for example, the number of cases of infection began to rise in October. The situation was worse in Shymkent. There, about 70-80 patients with measles visited doctors every day in October. Only those in serious condition were subject to hospitalization (almost 100% of hospital beds were filled). 80 percent of those infected were children under 14 years of age, of whom the lion’s share were unvaccinated against measles.

And in August this year, the disease also affected Kyrgyzstan. There, two fatal cases were registered among infected young patients. Both children had not been vaccinated against measles. A vaccination campaign began in September, after which the number of measles cases declined, according to Kyrgyz health officials. Turkmenistan, on the other hand, has not yet concluded: at the time of writing, no officials have made public statements, and the pro-government media are also silent.

We would like to add that measles is a very serious and contagious disease. In severe cases, it can lead a child to death or disability. The causative agent of the infection has a high degree of contagiousness – 92-95%. This means that out of 100 people who have contact with a measles patient without clinical manifestations, 92 to 95 people will fall ill.