Cape Town – The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has reported 13 more cases over the past week for the measles outbreak in Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
The total number of laboratory-confirmed cases from September 1 until November 22 is now 71.
According to NICD spokesperson Sinenhlanhla Jimoh, Limpopo has 60 cases affecting four districts: Capricorn, Greater Sekhukhune, Mopani and Waterberg, which have been declared outbreak areas.
The Ehlanzeni district in Mpumalanga, which shares a border with Greater Sekhukhune and Mopani districts in Limpopo, were also declared an outbreak area.
Jimoh said 11 cases have been reported in Mpumalanga with nine cases in Ehlanzeni, one from Gert Sibande and one from Nkangala districts.
“The ages of measles cases in the Limpopo province ranged from four months to 42 years, while in the Ehlanzeni district in Mpumalanga province, measles cases ranged from 18 months to 10 years.
“The most affected age group is the school-going children, 1–4 years age group (32%) in Mpumalanga province and 5–9 years old (34%) in Limpopo.
“Three laboratory-confirmed measles cases were hospitalised and no measles deaths have been reported in Limpopo province and Mpumalanga province,” Jimoh said.
She said 38 measles cases in Limpopo had an unknown vaccination history, while 11 of the reported cases did not receive any measles vaccine, nine were fully immunised with two doses while two of the reported cases were partially immunised with one dose.
In Mpumalanga three of the reported cases vaccination histories are unknown, five reported cases did not receive any measles vaccine and three were fully immunised.
“In health-care facilities, catch-up measles vaccine doses are given to children who missed their measles vaccinations to increase immunity in the community. The public health response to the measles outbreak in Limpopo province should target improving measles immunity in all five districts.
“Vaccination of measles case contacts is recommended in Ehlanzeni district to prevent the spread of the measles virus.
“Clinicians and caregivers should be on alert for anyone presenting with the above symptoms and signs and check children’s road-to-health booklets to ensure measles vaccinations are up to date. Measles vaccine doses are given routinely at 6 and 12 months of age. It is never too late to vaccinate against measles,” Jimoh added.