South African Measles Outbreak 2023 ( 18 January)

From epidemiological week 40, 2022 (ending 8 October 2022) to mid-week 02, 2023 (ending 14 January 2023) the NICD has tested 3326 serum samples for measles of which 397 (11.9%) were confirmed measles cases (Table 1). The number of samples submitted, number, and % tested positive are shown in Figure 1.

From epidemiological week 40 of 2022 to mid-week 02 of 2023, 382 laboratory-confirmed cases were reported from five provinces with declared measles outbreaks in Limpopo (145 cases), Mpumalanga (79 cases), North West (125 cases), Gauteng (18 cases), and Free State (15 cases) (Table 2). The geographical distribution of cases across South Africa from week 40 of 2022 until mid-week 02 of 2023 is shown in Figure 2. The number of cases continues to increase daily as blood and throat swabs are submitted to the NICD for measles serology and PCR testing.

Figure 1. The number of serum samples submitted to the NICD for measles, week 40 2022, until midweek 2, 2023, and the number (dark green) and % tested positive (red line), by epidemiological week.

Figure 2. Distribution of laboratory-confirmed measles cases by testing site (red dots – the size of the dot indicates the number of cases from that facility) and district of South Africa (deepening colour of blue indicates the total number of cases by sub-district), from week 40 to mid-week 02, 2023.

Table 1. Cases of laboratory-confirmed measles tested by the NICD from all provinces in South Africa from epidemiological week 40, 2022 to mid-week 02, 2023. Outbreak-associated cases are contained within the red bordered cells* (EC=Eastern Cape; FS=Free State; GP=Gauteng; KZN=KwaZulu-Natal; LP=Limpopo; MP=Mpumalanga NW=North West; NC=Northern Cape). * A measles outbreak is classified as three or more confirmed laboratory measles cases reported within 30 days of the onset of disease, in a district.



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