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Measles Campaign to Roll Out in Cape Town

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Measles Campaign to Roll Out in Cape Town

The City of Cape Town’s Health Department starts vaccination process

The City of Cape Town’s Health Department will roll out a measles campaign as of Monday 20 February 2017, in a response to the recent measles cases in a school in Stellenbosch. There have been a number of children from Somerset West and the northern suburbs which are still awaiting results from the laboratory.

The campaign will begin in City Health’s northern and eastern sub-districts and will be rolled out to the rest of the city the following week. The vaccination targets  children under the age of five, however in the northern and eastern sub-districts the measles immunisation will be extended to children up to 15 years old. The reason for this is the close proximity to the initial outbreak. The City has appealed to parents to sign the consent form.

Measles is an extremely contagious infection which is caused by a virus and spreads easily through sneezing,coughing and contact with saliva or nasal secretions. The disease may seem mild, however, it has a high risk of complication, including death.

Here are some symptoms to the infection; initial signs include a skin rash, fever, conjunctivitis, a cough and a runny nose. Two or three days later, small white spots may appear inside the mouth, known as Koplik's spots. After exposure, it takes 10 to 12 days to fall ill. The infection is contagious four days before the rash appears and remains contagious for another four days after.

The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services Alderman JP Smith stated that, “We have a good vaccination programme in Cape Town, but two doses of the measles vaccine are required for good disease protection. Every year there is a percentage of children who do not receive the two vaccine doses necessary to develop immunity. The result is that every few years, there is a group of people large enough to sustain an outbreak, sometimes even a full-blown epidemic. That is why outbreaks occur every five or six years,”.

We encourage all parents to be vigilant about protecting their children by taking the necessary precautions and consenting for vaccinations.

By Tarina Meiring 

Source: City of Cape Town  

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