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Measles surveillance at the National Institute of Communicable Diseases detected three cases of measles in two health centers in 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 cases of measles and vaccinate contacts to prevent the spread of the disease.
The first two measles cases had an onset date of September 22 and 25, 2022, and the third case was October 2, 2022. The measles cases were aged 11 years, 1 year and 11 months, respectively with two unvaccinated cases against measles and one case with unknown measles vaccination status.
Greater Sekhukhune District, with the support of the Limpopo Provincial Health Department, began measles case finding and vaccination targeting children between 6 months and 15 years. As of October 7, 2022, 2,052 children have been vaccinated in Fetakgomo Tubatse and Elias Motswaledi municipalities, where measles cases have been detected. The National Institute of Communicable Diseases is awaiting the updated report from Limpopo province.
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Measles presents with fever, malaise, cough, conjunctivitis, and runny nose. A non-itchy, non-vesicular maculopapular rash appears on the face, neck, trunk, and extremities, usually on the fourth day of illness. Other complications of measles include pneumonia, scarring of the cornea (keratoconjunctivitis), and, rarely, encephalitis.
Measles is highly infectious and spreads rapidly from person to person. People of any age who are not vaccinated can get measles and develop the disease. Physicians and caregivers should refer to the Children’s Pathway to Health brochures to ensure that measles immunizations are up to date. Measles vaccines are routinely given at 6 and 12 months of age. It’s never too late to get vaccinated against measles.