Measles outbreak reported in the City of Cape Town


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South African health officials have reported four laboratory-confirmed measles cases reported in Cape Town from 24 January 2023 to 17 February 2023.

Photo/Robert Herrmann

Although all laboratory-confirmed measles cases were examined, no epidemiological link was identified. Cases meet criteria for a measles outbreak in South Africa based on the 2015 Expanded Program Surveillance Evidence.

A confirmed measles outbreak is defined, according to the WHO-Africa Region, as the occurrence of three or more confirmed measles cases (at least two must be laboratory confirmed; IgM positive) in a health facility/district/sub-district (approximate) watershed population 100,000) per month.

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Measles is associated with fever, malaise, cough, conjunctivitis, and runny nose. A non-papular maculopapular rash, appearing on the face, neck, trunk, and extremities, usually on the fourth day of illness. Other complications of measles include pneumonia, scarring of the cornea (corneal conjunctivitis), and rarely, encephalitis. Measles is highly contagious and spreads quickly from person to person. Unvaccinated people of any age can get measles. Measles vaccines are given routinely at 6 and 12 months of age. It’s never too late to get vaccinated against measles.

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