In a follow-up on the measles outbreak reported in the Greater Sekhukhune District in Limpopo province, South Africa health officials report an additional four measles cases detected, increasing the total number of measles cases to seven as of October 21.
The ages of the measles-infected cases ranged from 9 months to 24 years, with three cases being male and four being female. One child was fully vaccinated for measles, with two measles doses given in 2019. One child with measles had not been vaccinated, and the other five measles cases had unknown vaccination history. One measles case was admitted to the hospital while one other had a complication that led to pneumonia.
Greater Sekhukhune District and Limpopo Province Department of Health officials, with the support of other stakeholders including the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, have started with public health response activities. These activities include enhanced surveillance for measles, contact tracing, screening for suspected measles cases using the measles case surveillance case definition followed by collection of blood and throat swabs for measles diagnostic testing, and medical record reviews in healthcare facilities to identify missed cases. Persons who have been exposed to suspected or confirmed cases are being vaccinated to prevent the spread of measles.
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The measles immunization coverage data for the Greater Sekhukhune district showed a decrease of 87% to 64% for measles dose 1 and 86% to 60% for measles dose 2 from 2017 to 2022. This is below the 95% coverage needed to achieve herd immunity.
Community awareness and health promotion by healthcare workers is continuing in the district to inform the public about the spread of measles and interventions to prevent disease. Measles vaccination has been initiated for children under 15 years to increase the measles immunity in the community and to prevent further spread of measles.
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