Measles outbreak cases increase to 35 in Limpopo

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Limpopo has recorded 14 new laboratory-confirmed measles cases in the province’s two sub-districts between 8 and 9 November 2022, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) reported on Thursday.

This brings the number of laboratory-confirmed measles outbreak to 35 infections.

This comes after the NICD declared a measles outbreak after three cases from two healthcare facilities were reported in the same district in October. 

The laboratory-confirmed measles cases in the Greater Sekhukhune District remain at 16 cases, while the Mopani District has gone up to 19.

According to the NICD, the measles infections reported in the Mopani District were found in Greater Giyani, Ba-Phalaborwa, and Ga-Kgapane districts.

“Epidemiological investigations linked two measles cases in the Greater Sekhukhune involves a father and child,” the NICD said.

“In the Mopani and Ba-Phalaborwa, two siblings with measles infection had contact with laboratory-confirmed cases in the Greater Sekhukhune and the Greater Giyani when they travelled there for a family funeral.”

While two cases have been reported from Vhembe District, the NICD said these cases do not have any links to outbreak-associated cases.

“These cases are considered sporadic and are not included in the outbreak tally.”

Data shows that the infections have been identified in 19 males and 16 females from age six months and 24 years in the Greater Sekhukhune and two to 42 years in the Mopani.

“There is an increasing number of measles cases in the ages five to nine years in the Mopani. Two children were admitted to the hospital. However, no deaths or other complications from measles have been reported.”

Affected districts, according to the institute, are continuing with the public health response activities, tracing suspected measles cases and vaccinating their contacts. 

“A measles vaccination catch-up dose is being given in the health facilities for the children who missed the measles vaccination to increase immunity in the community.”

Measles patients present with fever, rash, and one or more of these symptoms, cough, red eyes, and runny nose.

Complications of measles include pneumonia, diarrhoea, dehydration, encephalitis, blindness and death.

“Measles complications are severe in malnourished children and young infants under two years of age.”

People of any age who are unvaccinated can contract 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 vaccines are given routinely at the ages of six and 12 months.

“It is never too late to vaccinate against measles.” – SAnews.gov.za

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