Measles epidemic affects more prisoners

CONCERNED: Minister of Correctional Services Nosiviwe Mapisa- Nqakula visits Johannesburg prison yesterday. Pic: VATHISWA RUSELO. 25/10/2009. © Sowetan.
CONCERNED: Minister of Correctional Services Nosiviwe Mapisa- Nqakula visits Johannesburg prison yesterday. Pic: VATHISWA RUSELO. 25/10/2009. © Sowetan.

FORTY-EIGHT prisoners awaiting trial have been quarantined after a measles outbreak at the Johannesburg Prison.

FORTY-EIGHT prisoners awaiting trial have been quarantined after a measles outbreak at the Johannesburg Prison.

The number of infections at Medium A rose rapidly at the weekend, with 29 infections registered on Friday, 44 on Saturday and 48 confirmed yesterday.

This has forced Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to order that infected prisoners be placed under quarantine to stop the disease from spreading.

Mapisa-Nqakula visited the prison yesterday to discuss measures to ensure that there are no further infections.

"We are trying to contain the disease from spreading throughout the centre," she said. "Those infected are awaiting-trial prisoners and we have decided that they won't be taken to court for their trials."

Medium A houses 6044 prisoners, the largest number in the country. The infected are receiving treatment at the prison clinic.

Mapisa-Nqakula has also decided not to admit more prisoners into the centre until the outbreak has been dealt with.

The Health Department is expected to start vaccinating all prisoners and staff today.

Meanwhile 27 convicted prisoners at the prison will be writing matric this year.

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