Minister of Health Dr. Joe Phaahla called for calm and vigilance Monday after the government discovered four cases of measles in Gauteng.
These cases were found during routine surveillance activities aimed at detecting, investigating and responding to suspected cases vaccine-preventable disease.
The Ministry of Health announced that four suspected cases of measles were detected in Gauteng in the last two weeks of May and confirmed by laboratory tests conducted by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD). .
Three of these cases involved people living in Tshwane, meaning the town was experiencing an outbreak.
The fourth case involved a person living on the western edge. All four have been in isolation and are recovering.
Health officials in affected districts and communities are working together to identify and vaccinate contacts.
Phaahla urged parents and carers
“Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that is primarily spread through infectious Airborne droplets spread to infected people when they cough or sneeze.
“However, the measles vaccine has been in use for almost 60 years and is the best protection against this life-threatening childhood disease. It’s safe, effective, and freely available in public health facilities,” Phaahla said.
Measles symptoms include fever, red eyes, runny nose, and cough, which typically occur before the onset of the characteristic maculopapular rash .
Children, particularly children under the age of one, can develop complicated measles, which can include pneumonia, eye complications and, rarely, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).
The department said unvaccinated young children were the highest at risk of contracting measles and its complications.
Officials worked closely with the Gauteng Department of Health, the City of Tshwane, the NICD and other stakeholders including the World Health Organization and Unicef to investigate and respond to the outbreak.
The response includes increased surveillance and vigilance across the province.
According to the e Under South Africa’s expanded immunization program, children aged six and 12 months receive measles vaccines. These vaccines are available free of charge in public health facilities.
Measles is a notifiable disease under the National Health Act and doctors have been made aware of the symptoms to look out for.
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