South African Measles Outbreak Update 2023 (9 June 2023)

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


  • The NICD has tested 6264 serum samples for measles since epidemiological week 40, 2022, of which 1060 (17%) were confirmed positive. In the past week (week 21 up until week 22, 24/05/2023) there have been 28 laboratory-confirmed measles cases detected across the country, of which the majority were from Limpopo (22).
  • The percentage of samples testing positive (PTP) increased from 19% (11/58) of samples tested in week 20 to 28% (19/69) of samples tested in week 21.
  • In week 22 (week ending 03/06/2023), Limpopo province reported a total of eight (8) new measles cases, while a sporadic case (1) was reported in Gauteng. Sporadic cases continue to be seen in Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Western Cape. North West and Free State province last reported cases in week 19 and week 20 respectively.
  • Nationally, the reproduction number as of 2023-05-25 was estimated to be 0.84 (0.36 – 1.6), suggesting that infection incidence is likely decreasing. There is a 68% chance that the reproduction number was below 1 as of 2023-05-25.

Outbreak overview

From epidemiological week 40 2022 to week 22 2022, the NICD has tested 6264 serum samples for measles of which 1060 (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 22 of 2023, 1054 laboratory-confirmed cases were reported from eight provinces with declared measles outbreaks; Limpopo (476 cases), Mpumalanga (109 cases), North West (217 cases), Gauteng (176 cases), Free State (32 cases), Western Cape (16), KwaZulu-Natal (21) and Northern Cape (7) (Table 1)The number of blood samples and throat swabs submitted to the NICD for measles serology and PCR testing increased from 58 in week 20 to 69 in week 21.

Figure 1. Number of serum samples submitted to the NICD for measles, week 40 2022, until week 22, 2023, and the number (dark green) and % tested positive (red line), by epidemiological week using the date the specimen was collected. *Data from week 22 will be updated in next week’s situation report when complete data from samples collected that week becomes available.


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