Kinshasa — AT LEAST 30 people have died from an outbreak of measles in the conflict-torn Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The deaths are from 1 850 cases confirmed in the southern Haut-Katanga Province, closer to Zambia, since the beginning of the year.
Some ten health zones are affected by the disease, particularly Upper Katanga.
Neighbouring provinces including Lualaba and Haut-Lomami have also confirmed outbreaks.
Health specialists have attributed the situation to a vicious cycle of factors, among them low coverage of vaccination campaigns and the mass movement of people, particularly in areas ravaged by conflict.
Some health zones are inaccessible because of the escalating security situation caused by armed groups.
Haut-Katanga is among several provinces beset by clashes between armed groups and the military in the vast Central African country.
"The majority of health zones in these provinces are fragile in terms of health because of the lack of human and technical resources," said a humanitarian spokesperson.
The official said humanitarian actors were worried about the spread of the disease in a country already bearing the brunt of cholera.
Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease caused by a virus.
Symptoms include fever cough, runny nose and inflamed eyes.