South Africa's Measles Outbreak Migrates North
Since the measles outbreak began in October 2022, various Republic of South Africa (RSA) provinces have been impacted. However, recent data announced by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases indicates most new measles cases are confirmed in the north.
As of March 2023, a measles outbreak has been declared in the Northern Cape Province in the Francis Baard district.
Specifically, 13 specimens from Limpopo and North West Province had measles virus genotype D8 sequences related to the Zimbabwe 2022 measles outbreak strain.
Previously, the RSA's National Institute for Communicable Disease (NICD) alerted the Western Cape province about the increased laboratory-confirmed measles cases in Cape Town from late January through February 17, 2023.
Since the last declaration in the Western Cape, no new measles cases have been reported.
In provinces where an outbreak has been declared, children are the most affected age group.
Notably, South Africa launched a National Measles Supplementary Immunization campaign in early February 2023, including the Western Cape province.
'It is never too late to vaccinate children over six months,' says the NICD.
The National supplemental immunization campaign has now expanded to all provinces.
This information supports the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) global endorsement of measles vaccinations.
Measles is highly contagious, with about 90% of people not protected will become infected following exposure to the measles virus.
The CDC reconfirmed on March 2, 2023, all travelers to Africa, including infants and preschool-aged children, should be fully protected against measles.
In the U.S., various measles vaccines are available at health clinics and local pharmacies.
For example, the Priorix vaccine is now licensed in the U.S. and over 100 countries.
Other measles outbreak news is available at Vax-Before-Travel.com/Measles.