In a follow-up on the measles outbreak in South Africa, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) reports 71 cases of measles with laboratory confirmation between September 1 and November 22, 2022.
In Limpopo province, 60 measles cases, affecting four districts: Capricorn, Greater Sekhukhune, Mopani, and Waterberg, which have all been declared measles outbreak areas. Vhembe district with two laboratory–confirmed measles cases did not meet the measles outbreak criteria.
Eleven laboratory-confirmed measles cases have been reported in Mpumalanga province, with nine from the Ehlanzeni district, one from the Gert Sibande district, and one from the Nkangala district.
In response to the measles outbreak, affected districts follow up on laboratory-confirmed measles cases and vaccinate the contacts. In healthcare facilities, catch-up measles vaccine doses are given to children who missed their measles vaccinations to increase immunity in the community. The public health response to the measles outbreak in Limpopo province should target improving measles immunity in all five districts. Vaccination of measles case contacts is recommended in Ehlanzeni district to prevent the spread of the measles virus.
Measles patients present with fever, rash, and one or more of the following symptoms cough, red eyes, and runny nose. Complications of measles include pneumonia, diarrhea, dehydration, encephalitis, blindness, and death. Measles complications are severe in malnourished children and those young infants under 2 years of age. Persons of any age who are not vaccinated can catch measles and develop the disease. Clinicians and caregivers should be on alert for anyone presenting with the above symptoms and signs and check children’s road-to-health booklets to ensure measles vaccinations are up to date. Measles vaccine doses are given routinely at 6 and 12 months of age. It is never too late to vaccinate against measles.
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