Thousands vaccinated in Western Cape to fight measles outbreak

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Thousands vaccinated in Western Cape to fight measles outbreak

TMG Digital | 2017-02-20 09:26:44.0

The Western Cape health department has vaccinated 15 500 learners and children against measles. File photo.

Image by: BRIAN SNYDER
/

REUTERS

The Western Cape health department has vaccinated 15 500 learners and children against measles in Stellenbosch and Drakenstein this month in an effort to prevent the spread of the disease.

There are currently nine confirmed cases of measles and all patients have been treated and are recovering.

The department said it was acting in line with the World Health Organisation’s Outbreak Response Protocol which advises mass vaccination to the affected areas and surrounds.

The department said a target of 80% coverage needed to be achieved to create immunity.

On Sunday afternoon‚ 78% of coverage had already been achieved.

All available staff was deployed in these areas‚ visiting schools‚ crèches and even going door to door‚ irrespective of the heat.

The department said it was positive it would achieve the target of 80% by the end of Monday. Western Cape health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo thanked all the role-players involved in the outbreak response.

The department said when an outbreak was confirmed‚ the first action was to vaccinate all those who were closest to the point of the outbreak.

In this case‚ these were the learners attending the three high schools in Stellenbosch.

The second phase was to vaccinate those situated just outside of the initial outbreak‚ but who may be at risk of contracting the illness; these are children between six to 59 months who live in the Stellenbosch area. The third measure is to vaccinate children attending primary schools‚ in the affected areas.

The department said this process would start next week and included all 88 primary schools in the Drakenstein and Stellenbosch areas‚ with a total of 52 307 learners to be vaccinated.



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