Joburg in the grip of measles

THERE is an outbreak of measles in Johannesburg and surrounding areas. This month alone 48 cases have been reported which is triple the number in the past seven months.

THERE is an outbreak of measles in Johannesburg and surrounding areas. This month alone 48 cases have been reported which is triple the number in the past seven months.

In the wake of the spate of cases, the City of Johannesburg has issued an alert to the public.

"All the regions in the city are affected by the outbreak," said spokesperson Nkosinathi Nkabinde.

"The outbreak is occurring among children, especially teenagers, and adults.

"Some of the individuals affected had one or two doses of measles vaccine, meaning all people are at risk of contracting measles.

"Any person with a fever, rash and any one of the following symptoms - running nose, red infected eyes or cough - should be investigated for measles," he said.

Measles is a serious disease that can be fatal. It also causes blindness, deafness, brain damage and pneumonia.

"All cases of suspected measles must be reported to the Health Department as failure to control the spread of measles will result in unnecessary suffering and even death," Nkabinde said.

"The department will immunise all identified contacts at home, school and at the workplace.

"Contacts of all ages will be given the measles vaccine which must be administered as soon as possible after exposure to be effective."

Although the first measles vaccination is given at nine months to protect infants against the dangerous illness, immunity is not optimal . The second dose is administered at 18 months of age.

About one in every 10 children does not respond to the first dose.

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