Measles outbreak: four more cases detected in Limpopo

The NICD urges anyone who has not been vaccinated for measles to do so. File picture

The NICD urges anyone who has not been vaccinated for measles to do so. File picture

Published Oct 24, 2022


Cape Town - The National Institute for Communicable Disease (NICD) has detected a further four cases of measles in the Greater Sekhukhune District, bringing the total number of cases to seven.

This comes after the NICD issued a measles alert in the area on October 11.

It said the ages of measles-infected cases ranged from nine months to 24 years.

Three men and four women are reported to be infected.

According to the spokesperson for the NICD, Sinenhlanhla Jimoh, one child has been fully vaccinated, with two measles doses given in 2019. However, one of the children reported with measles had not been vaccinated. The other five cases had an unknown vaccination history.

Jimoh said one of the individuals was admitted to hospital while another had a complication that led to pneumonia.

“Greater Sekhukhune District and Limpopo Province Department of Health officials, with the support of other stakeholders including the NICD, have started with public health response activities.

“These activities include enhanced surveillance for measles, contact tracing, screening for suspected measles cases using the measles case surveillance case definition followed by collection of blood and throat swabs for measles diagnostic testing, and medical record reviews in health-care facilities to identify missed cases.

“Persons who have been exposed to suspected or confirmed cases are being vaccinated to prevent the spread of measles,” Jimoh said.

The measles immunisation coverage data for the Greater Sekhukhune District showed a decrease from 87% to 64% for measles dose 1 and a decrease from 86% to 60% from measles dose 2 from 2017 to 2022.

“This is below the 95% coverage needed to achieve herd immunity. A survey is being done to validate the vaccination data provided to the province and investigate factors that might be contributing to the measles outbreak.

“Community awareness and health promotion by health-care workers is continuing in the district to inform the public about the spread of measles and interventions to prevent disease. Measles vaccination has been initiated for children under 15 years to increase measles immunity in the community and to prevent the further spread of measles,” Jimoh said.

The NICD urges clinicians to continue to be alert for measles cases, especially in Limpopo as large measles outbreaks are occurring in sub-Saharan Africa.

Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus.

Those infected with the virus will present with a fever and rash.

The rash is small, red, flat spots over the body.

The rash does not form blisters, nor will it itch or be painful.

Other signs of measles include a cough, conjunctivitis (red eyes) and coryza (running nose). Complications of measles can include diarrhoea, dehydration, brain infection (encephalitis), blindness and death. Other measles complications are pneumonia, and scarring of the cornea (kerato-conjunctivitis). Complications are more serious in those who catch measles as young infants (under two years old) and in children who are malnourished. Measles is highly infectious and spreads rapidly from person to person.

“Persons of any age who are not vaccinated can catch measles and develop disease. Clinicians and caregivers should check children’s road-to-health booklets to ensure measles vaccinations are up to date.

“Measles vaccines are given routinely at six and 12 months of age.

“It is never too late to vaccinate against measles,” Jimoh added.

Suspected measles cases should be notified on the NMC system:

[email protected]


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