Prolonged hospital stay in measles patients
Background: Measles is still a major cause of childhood morbidity and mortality in Nigeria despite the availability of safe and effective vaccines. The burden of measles using length of hospital stay as a result of complications in hospitalised children with measles is
reported. Methods: We carried out a two year retrospective study of children admitted with measles into the department of Paediatrics, University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital. Results: Three hundred and nine children (11.2% of Paediatric admission) aged 6-90 months (median 13 months) with a male: female ratio of 1.6: 1 were admitted with measles. Forty three (14%) patients were aged less than 9-months. Seventy two per cent (223) of the subjects were not immunised against measles. Length of stay ranged between 4 and 32 days (mean; 8.7 days, median; 16 days) and total bed days were 3561 days. Forty per cent (124) of the measles admissions were for more than 14 days (prolonged hospitalisation). Infants and unvaccinated from low socio-economic class were more likely to have prolonged
hospitalization. The most frequent complication associated with prolonged length of stay was bronchopneumonia (70.2%). Two of the children suffered acute measles encephalopathy. Conclusions: Therapy for measles and its complications may be a major drain on medical care resources in this part of Nigeria, especially among young children who are unvaccinated and from low socio-economic class.