Tshwane measles outbreak officially now over, says NICD

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

The measles outbreak in the Tshwane District has been declared over since more than 42 days, or two incubation periods, have passed without new cases being detected since the outbreak.

According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), as of 11 July 2022, no new laboratory-confirmed measles cases were reported to be linked to the measles outbreak in Tshwane District.

“The number of measles cases detected and epidemiologically linked to the measles outbreak in the Tshwane District remains at four. The last laboratory-confirmed measles case was reported on 25 June 2022,” the NICD explained. 

Also, no additional laboratory-confirmed measles cases in the district had an epidemiological link to the home-based school facility outbreak.

In addition, the NICD said the City of Tshwane and provincial health officials conducted public health investigations and responses that resulted in the measles vaccination campaign in crèches and schools where the measles outbreak occurred, and areas where another case was detected.

The institute said Gauteng is planning a measles vaccination campaign targeting children aged six months to 14 to increase immunity and prevent new measles cases.

“Clinicians and caregivers should continue to check the children’s vaccination booklets to ensure they are up to date with their measles vaccination,” the institute advised.

The measles vaccine is given routinely at the age of six and 12 months, while catch-up doses should be administered to children who missed their vaccinations.

Measles, according to the NICD, is a highly contagious disease and it spreads through infectious airborne respiratory droplets from an infected person when coughing or sneezing. 

It commonly presents with respiratory tract symptoms and any of the three Cs -- conjunctivitis, cough, and coryza.

“Other symptoms can include fever, fatigue, and muscle pain, which typically appear before the onset of the disease’s characteristic maculopapular rash.”

However, children under the age of one may develop complicated measles including bronchopneumonia, keratoconjunctivitis (inflammation of the cornea and conjunctiva), and rarely, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).

“These complications may lead to irreversible damage and/or death, especially in immunocompromised or malnourished children. Even healthy children who develop measles develop transient immunosuppression and are more susceptible to common childhood illnesses for at least one year after infection.” – SAnews.gov.za

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