South Africa's Measles Outbreak Continues
Over the past year, the Republic of South Africa has been confronted with a significant measles outbreak. Even with an aggressive vaccination program, new measles cases continue to be reported.
As of August 16, 2023, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has tested 6,616 serum samples for measles since epidemiological week 40, 2022, of which 1124 (17%) were confirmed positive.
Recently, the percentage of samples testing positive decreased to 9% in week #31.
However, in early August 2023, six laboratory-confirmed measles cases were detected nationwide.
Three measles cases were from Limpopo province, while Free State, Gauteng, and North West reported one case each.
There must be no new measles cases for 42 days to declare the measles outbreak over.
Worldwide, numerous countries have reported measles outbreaks in 2023. Measles is often transmitted from person to person through inhaling airborne micro-droplet respiratory secretions (from the nose or throat) from infectious patients.
Patients are infectious from one day before the onset of prodromal symptoms (usually about four days before the rash appears) until four days after the rash appears.
Clinicians across South Africa are urged to be on the lookout for measles cases and support the ongoing vaccination program. Globally, various measles vaccines are authorized for most people, including infants.
For more information about South Africa's measles outbreak including vaccination, please refer to this website.
In the U.S., measles vaccines are generally available at health clinics and pharmacies.
The U.S. CDC, the U.K., and Canada have issued various measles outbreak travel advisories to inform international travelers of their health risks.
As of August 3, 2023, a total of 19 measles cases were reported by 13 U.S. jurisdictions this year.