Measles outbreak alert -Greater Sekhukhune District (11 October 2022)

Measles surveillance at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases detected three cases of measles from two healthcare facilities in the Greater Sekhukhune District, Limpopo Province within 30 days. A measles outbreak is classified as three laboratory-confirmed measles cases reported within 30 days in a district. A public health response investigation is needed to identify new measles cases and vaccination of the contacts to prevent the spread of the disease.

The first two measles cases had the date of onset of 22 and 25 September 2022, and the third case was 02 October 2022.  The measles cases were aged 11 years, 1 year and 11 months, respectively with two cases not vaccinated for measles and one case with unknown measles vaccination status.

Greater Sekhukhune District with the support of the Limpopo Province Health Department started measles case finding and vaccination targeting children between 6 months and 15 years. As of 07 October 2022, 2 052 children have been vaccinated in Fetakgomo Tubatse municipality and Elias Motswaledi municipality where measles cases were detected. The National Institute for Communicable Disease is waiting for the updated report from Limpopo Province.

Clinicians are asked to be on the alert for measles cases, especially in Limpopo Province, as large measles outbreaks are occurring in sub-Saharan Africa.

Signs and Symptoms 

Measles presents with fever, malaise, cough, conjunctivitis, and a runny nose. A maculopapular non-itchy, non-vesicular rash appears on the face, neck, trunk, and limbs, usually on day four of the illness.  Other measles complications are pneumonia, scarring of the cornea (kerato-conjunctivitis), and rarely encephalitis.

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 6 and 12 months of age. It is never too late to vaccinate against measles. Read more on measles here 

Suspected measles cases should be notified on the NMC system; click here to access the notification form

Source: Centre for Vaccine and Immunology, National Institute for Communicable Diseases
Department of Health Limpopo province

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