SOUTH AFRICAN MEASLES OUTBREAK UPDATE 2023 (09 October 2023)

Issued by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases based on laboratory testing data

Highlights

  • The NICD has tested 7123 serum samples for measles since epidemiological week 40, 2022, of which 1214 (17%) were confirmed positive. In the past two weeks (weeks 38 and 39, 30/09/2023), 26 laboratory-confirmed measles cases were detected across the country from four of the eight provinces where the measles outbreak was confirmed. Gauteng reported most of the cases (14), Kwa-Zulu Natal reported (five), Mpumalanga (three) and Western Cape reported four cases.
  • The number of reported cases started increasing in week 32 after reporting less than five cases for the past five weeks (week 27-31). However, there has been a noteworthy increase in the number of cases reported from weeks 34-39.
  • To declare the measles outbreak over, the following criteria should be achieved: Absence of newly detected measles cases for more than two incubation periods (42 days). The criteria for declaring the measles outbreak over was met in the Northern Cape province in week 15, the North West province in week 24, and the Free State province in week 25. Mpumalanga and North West are reporting sporadic cases.

Outbreak Overview

  • From epidemiological week 40, 2022 to week 39, 2023, the NICD tested 7123 serum samples for measles of which 1214 (17%) were confirmed measles cases. The number of samples submitted and the percentage of laboratory-confirmed measles-positive cases are shown in Figure 1. From epidemiological week 40 of 2022 to week 39 of 2023, 1205 laboratory-confirmed cases were reported from eight provinces with declared measles outbreaks; Limpopo (524 cases), Mpumalanga (120 cases), North West (222 cases), Gauteng (223 cases), Free State (35 cases), Western Cape (23), KwaZulu-Natal (51) and Northern Cape (7) (Table 1). The number of blood samples and throat swabs submitted to the NICD for measles serology and PCR testing decreased from 84 in week 38 to 43 tested in week 39.

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