No new cases of measles reported

Monday, April 6, 2009

Pretoria - No new cases of measles have been reported in Gauteng following the five confirmed cases reported in the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality on Friday.

According to the Gauteng Health Department five cases including two adults, a 10 year-old boy, two-year and two-month old babies who are sisters, were confirmed to be infected by the contagious disease.

The department said all the affected people were in a stable, fine condition and have received measles vaccination.

Although these are sporadic cases, the department said, the occurrence is regarded as an outbreak because Tshwane as a district sees around one measles case per year.

In an attempt to contain the outbreak, the department's outbreak response team have alerted all clinicians both in the private and public sector about the disease.

Infection control officers in all hospitals have also been requested to be on high surveillance for the disease.

"CrSches, though most are on holiday at the moment will be targeted for social mobilisation purposes by health promoters and environmental health practitioners have started conducting epidemiological risk analysis for this outbreak," the department said.

Measles is a highly contagious but less lethal viral disease that is spread through droplets of saliva and secretions from nose, the incubation period is usually 10 to 14 days.

Worldwide outbreaks occur within the winter and spring seasons. The symptoms include running nose, cough, red eyes, fever and rashes that develop later.

Complications include encephalitis (brain infection), pneumonia (lung infection), ear infections and deafness.

The department said there is no specific treatment, bed rest and paracetamol are the usual supportive treatment and the outcome is usually good.

Immunisation exists and the first dose is taken at nine months and the second dose at 18 months, catch up campaigns are usually done in areas where immunisation coverage is very low, the department said.

The preventative measures for measles include vaccination of all children according to recommended schedules, isolation of measles patients until fifth day of rash, washing of hands immediately before and after eating, practicing cough etiquette and avoiding kissing of children and unknown people.