Harare: A measles outbreak has killed 80 children in Zimbabwe since April, the health ministry said, blaming church cult assemblies for the surge.
In a statement by Reuters, the ministry said the outbreak has now spread across the country, with a death rate of 6.9 percent.
Health Minister Jasper Chimedza said 1,036 suspected cases and 125 confirmed cases had been reported since the outbreak on Thursday, with Manicaland in eastern Zimbabwe responsible for the majority of infections.
“The Department of Health and Childcare would like to inform the public that the ongoing measles outbreak, first reported on April 10, has since spread nationwide following church meetings,” Chimedza said on Sunday (Monday AEST).
“This gathering, attended by people from different provinces of the country with unknown vaccination status, led to the spread of measles to previously unaffected areas.”
Manicaland, the second most populous province, had 356 cases and 45 deaths, Chimedza said.
Most of the reported cases are in children between the ages of six months and 15 years from religious sects who are not vaccinated against measles because of religious beliefs, he added.
Bishop Andby Makuru, leader of the apostolic sect Johanne Masowe, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In Zimbabwe, some apostolic sects forbid their followers to receive vaccinations or any medical treatment. The churches attract millions of followers with their promises to cure disease and lift people out of poverty.
https://www.smh.com.au/world/africa/measles-surge-blamed-on-anti-vax-sects-after-80-children-die-20220815-p5ba0o.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_world Deaths of 80 children blamed on anti-vaccination groups