There are 80 suspected cases of measles in KwaZulu-Natal that have been reported to health authorities‚ with only 26 having been confirmed.
The epidemic was reported earlier this month and some cases are linked to communities that don’t want to vaccinate.
It is legally required that doctors have to report any suspected cases so that authorities can trace anyone who may have been infected and reduce the spread of the disease.
Measles is one of the most infectious diseases in the world spreading easily. It can cause deafness‚ blindness‚ pneumonia and even death.
Cases of the deadly disease have been confirmed in the Durban area‚ Pietermaritzburg area‚ ILembe district and near Ladysmith.
There are also suspected cases in the northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal.
The National Institute of Communicable Disease has warned doctors in the province to look out for patients presenting with a rash‚ runny nose‚ red eyes and a cough.
It has urged that all people in the province ensure they are up to date with vaccinations.
This is the third outbreak this year with 31 cases reported in the Western Cape in January and February‚ mostly in Stellenbosch‚ and 17 in Gauteng in March and April.
“The National Institute of Communicable Diseases is working together with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health and private laboratory networks to provide diagnostic testing‚ assist with notification of cases and support outbreak response. Tracing and vaccination of contacts is ongoing.”
Emergency vaccines will be given to school children in affected areas.
It urged communities that don’t want to vaccinate because of the pig-related gelatine in the vaccine to read the endorsement of the vaccine of the Jamiatul Ulama (Council of Muslim Theologians).
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases said: “The MeasBio‚ Biovac‚ vaccine contains porcine gelatine but it is currently the ONLY option available in South Africa.
“Material on vaccination‚ including statements from the Jaimatul Ulama‚ and the Islamic Medical association in support of vaccination may be found on the NICD website.”
The Jamiatul Ulama South Africa supports the “use of vaccines to prevent the spread of this virus and to minimise the harm it can cause. As Muslims‚ we are duty bound to protect ourselves and the communities around us from harm‚ and vaccination is one method of preventing the spread of the virus.”
It added: “In the event of such a vaccine being not available or financially unbearable‚ there would be leeway to use vaccines that contain Haraam (impermissible) ingredients.”
by Katharine Child – Times Live