Western Cape Measles Immunisation Campaign Fast Forwarded
The Western Cape Department of Health has fast forwarded the immunisation campaign to combat the outbreak of measles originally planned for April this year.
"We are handling the outbreak according to the best practice procedures of an outbreak, not an epidemic", says Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha. "Since the outbreak in Gauteng and Kwa-Zulu Natal in September last year, we have been on high alert and have been putting plans in place to immunise babies and children. The number of cases in the province is 260."
The numbers show that the areas most affected are the Cape Town Metropole and the Cape Winelands. 58 996 children were immunised against measles between April 2009 and December 2009. Routinely, as part of the health immunisations schedule, children at 9 months and 18 months are vaccinated. In the hotspot areas anyone presenting to a health facility with measles symptoms are clinically treated and their contacts are followed up and immunised.
The Western Cape has embarked on an awareness campaign against polio and measles which will include radio health talks, advertorials, posters and pamphlets.
Some facts on measles:
- Measles is a highly contagious disease usually seen in children, but affect older children and adults as well.
- The incubation period is 10 - 14 days, often longer in adults.
- It is characterised by malaise, fever, loss of appetite, red watery eyes, cough and runny nose.
- The rash of measles usually appears 3 - 5 days after the above symptoms. It begins on the face and spreads down over the body.
- The duration of the illness is 7 - 10 days.
- Measles is spread by droplets from respiratory secretions. It is transmitted by breathing, coughing or sneezing.
- The most infectious phase is at the peak of the coughing and runny nose.
For more information, people can phone the Western Cape Communicable Disease Control Office, Tel: 021 483 3156.
Theuns Botha MPP
Western Cape Minister for Health