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Keywords:

  • measles;
  • epidemiology;
  • diagnosis;
  • Sudan

Clinical and epidemiological data were collected from 187 clinically diagnosed measles patients in Haj Yousif area, suburban Khartoum. Laboratory tests confirmed the diagnosis in 141 (75%) of the cases, but demonstrated that in 46 (25%) patients the clinical symptoms were not caused by an acute measles virus (MV) infection. According to their vaccination card, 59% of the laboratory-confirmed measles cases had been vaccinated for measles. Compared with non-measles rash disease cases, confirmed measles cases more often had severe illness (P < 0.0001), were dehydrated (P=0.01) at presentation and less likely to recover without complications [OR 0.19 (95% CI 0.09, 0.39)]. There was no difference in death rate (P=0.20). Underweight [weight-for-age Z score (WAZ) ≤ −2 SD] was an independent predictor of recovery with complications [OR 0.4 (95% CI 0.2, 0.99)]. Severe measles cases (those who developed diarrhoea, pneumonia, otitis media, encephalitis or haemorrhagic rash) had similar vaccination rates and time intervals since vaccination as uncomplicated measles cases. Although severe measles had lower WAZ-scores (P=0.004), none of the nutritional parameters studied were predictive of outcome. Mortality was higher in the severe measles group [OR 8.8 (95% CI 1.7, 85.2)]. In 11 of 141 confirmed measles cases serological evidence of a recent infection with another virus was found, most commonly varicella zoster virus and dengue virus; spotted fever and rubella were among the most frequent diagnoses in 17 of 47 cases of the non-measles cases.