Egypt's health ministry has stepped up measures to curb a potential measles epidemic in the western desert oasis of Siwa, as death toll from the disease has hit six.
Health Minister Adel Adawy visited the region, where some 30,000 people live, late on Sunday to check on infected children being treated at a major local hospital there.
The minister said that necessary equipment, medical specialists and vaccines will be provided to limit the spread of the viral disease.
The eruption of measles, a highly contagious disease that mostly strikes children, has claimed the lives of six, all children, in the past three weeks, health ministry spokesperson Hossam Abdel Ghaffar told Ahram Online.
Some140 others have contracted the disease, 110 of whom have finished their treatment at hospitals, he added. Around 1,500 children, out of a targeted 4,000, have been inoculated in recent days.
In comments carried by state news agency MENA, the provincial governor, Badr Tantawy, said some 50 percent of children in the oasis were not vaccinated against the disease.
Measles vaccination should be given to children between the age of nine months and six years.
According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), measles has no specific treatment, and most patients recover within 2–3 weeks.
It said however that severe complications, including blindness, could arise, particularly in malnourished children and people with reduced immunity.