The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health has urged parents to ensure that all children have a complete vaccination schedule.
This comes after the diagnosis of a few isolated cases of measles in the EThekwini, Umgungundlovu, Uthukela and Ilembe districts recently.
According to a statement issued by the department on Thursday, 27 cases of measles had been discovered around the province. In the eThekwini region there were 14 confirmed cases and three suspected cases were still being investigated, while six cases were confirmed in Umgungundlovi, two in iLembe and a suspected case in the King Cetshwayo district.
“The majority of these cases were mostly diagnosed among a particular community and are being traced with the aim to offer the measles vaccination irrespective of age. The confirmed cases are of people between the ages of 9 months and 51 years old,” the statement read.
Measles is a viral infection, spread from person to person through saliva, coughing, sneezing or close interaction with an infected person. Measles symptoms include fever, rash and flu.
Complications can include lung infection diarrhoea, dehydration, blindness, brain infection or death. Most people recover fully from measles, but complications are unpredictable. It is common in children but old people who have not received the measles vaccine can also be infected.
“The department would like to once again encourage people in the affected communities to take advantage of the vaccination that is offered at public health institutions. This should be done urgently in order to avoid any further transmission of the virus,” the statement further read.
“Vaccination is the most effective way of preventing measles and other opportunistic diseases that might affect growth development in children.
Children are vaccinated against measles, as part of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (SA-EPI), at 6 months and receive a booster at 12 months. At least 95% of people are protected from measles after the two doses.”