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Three measles cases confirmed in Limpopo

Three cases of measles have been detected in Limpopo. The National Institute for Communicable Diseases says the outbreak can be traced back to the Sekhukhune district in Limpopo. eNCA speaks to the province’s health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba. #DStv403

Three measles cases confirmed in Limpopo

Covid-19 to Monkey pox and now measles three cases of measles have been detected in the province of Limpopo the National Institute for communicable diseases says the outbreak can be traced back to The sikkune District in Limpopo now the provinces healthmec is Dr popi ramatuba and she joins us virtually now for an update MBC thank you so much for.

Your time this evening people might listen to this new story and say three cases surely that’s not enough to cause Panic explain to us why it is now being called an outbreak uh unfortunately we can’t hear you MBC if you could unmute yourself please oh so sorry evening to your your viewers uh out today and thank you for giving us.

This opportunity yes in terms of the the case definition of an outbreak once you have two or more cases uh in the current situation where we want to believe that we’ve already covered the population in terms of immunization and vaccination it should be a worrying factor and therefore it gets to be declared as an outbreak and a surveillance teams are.

Always on the ground on a daily basis to pick up some of these cases which I suspect and are led to us so yes indeed it might sounds like two case but yeah we’re not dealing with a novel virus we’re dealing with something that we yet thought we have already eradicated what do we know about these three cases and the communities that they come from.

Uh uh what do we know about the rates of vaccinations especially of our precious little ones I think we need to be honest here in terms of the vaccination rate in the in the Coconut District that is where we even raise the the alarm previously concerns about the rate where in we are at around 66 percent sometimes 71.

Percent uh depending on month to month but when you look at other districts like mupani and wembe that’s why you’ve got around 100 percent in some stage when they’ve not done well they would be at 95.90 four percent so it it it has been a challenge in terms of vaccination when you look at this the cases now have been confirmed to before after we did.

Contact tracing uh yesterday our team and even today had been to the Villages uh to look into these cases three of them were detected around the burgersfort area the one it’s from around the grovesdale area now when you look at this cases and none of them you you can confirm if they have been vaccinated they have not been vaccinated.

The age uh Gap it’s it’s I think it’s between a one year and and 11 years so that is why now the campaign of getting all the children from six months to 11 years and 15 years getting to be vaccinated and this is the work that we’ve started with our Social Development for those children at the crash and also for children with the.

Basic education and the primary schools so that we cover them with the particular cases that we are talking about uh three of them that I’m indicating are from one area burgersfort we have already detected dispatch uh the response till the outbreak what we could find is that we we find they are residing in a the area or in a house.

Where it is a house of a traditional Health practitioners where we found a more than I think around 60 people in that house uh already 13 head signs and symptoms of measles who have already collected displacement for that the remaining 43 that were not symptomatic we had already vaccinated and this includes adults who were there for for.

Other treatment there was a function apparently so we are monitoring that situation very closely we have already isolated those that were found to be symptomatic and so that we can be able to kept the spread uh speaking of curbing the spread a measles as a reminder is highly infectious isn’t it remind our viewers.

What they should be looking out for in terms of symptoms I think what is important is that they must look at a fee when if you have fever and the uh popular Rush that you you you would have all over the body once you have that those two plus either one of the three which could be conjunctivitis your eyes a redness and.

Always stretching them secondly either you you you could be having running lows uh or you could have cough so if you have one of those three including the fever plus the macular popular popular rash those would be a real signs or symptoms that are complementary towards a measles we will have to collect the specimen and do a test in the laboratory.

And this in this case an ICD brought back the results and confirmed to us that indeed we have got a confirmed cases of measles in our province now Dr ramatuba long before we had these long debates about vaccinations that was brought on by covid-19 and the need to have our adult and younger population vaccinated I remember having discussions.

Around how we as South Africans have taken for granted that we have such a strong vaccination uh tradition if I could call it that that from the ages in fact I was reminded when I had my baby just under two years ago before the child is three days old before you’ve left the hospital if you’ve privileged enough to be able to do that the child.

Has had its first set of of vaccinations and it’s only later on that you realize that it’s not necessarily the case all over the world do you think it’s fair to say that sometimes we take that for granted and that there are perhaps little spots in the country rural areas in the country where we have overlooked the need for an education drive or.

Ongoing education and encouragement for our little ones to be vaccinated I think you’re quite right and if you look at like I’ve indicated these cases that have been confirmed and none of these children were vaccinated or received any of the dosages of measles so they’ve been able to miss whether it’s six months whether it’s 12 months.

Those children have not been vaccinated and these children are we found them around the Villages the rural areas and uh watu was quite concerning for me is that the team that has been in that household where we found a number of people there are those that have refused to be vaccinated and also refuse that their children being vaccinated so this.

Hence you’ve seen we were saying from Monday we will be reporting in those particular areas so that from this the the level of a politician who have already met with our local councilors who have already discussed with our Mayors to say this course for political intervention and Leadership so that we go around we bring our churches together.

Bring the traditional Health a practitioners committee that we work with on a number of diseases including the covid vaccination we’ve got to go back to how we managed to succeed in our covid-19 vaccine when we had a lot of those myth and apathy so with the with the measles it has proven that the children that have been vaccinated do.

Not get infected actually that’s it that’s it and we had thought by now for instance those areas that have indicated we’ve got 100 or 95 coverage it’s you you will hardly get any measles case so in this particular area because we’ve not been doing well because these are rural areas probably and more education we need to work with our local media we.

Need to work with you in in the mainstream media to bring more more information and educate our people because it’s only information that will help them to own up to their health and parents will Now understand that the health of their children is their responsibility as parents and make sure that every child cannot leave the.

Hospital without being vaccinated and when the nurses gives you a date that bring the child on this particular day for this particular vaccination or immunization you’ll make sure that the card is up to date so we will also not uh focusing on that area only we will be rolling out the ketchup plan because we must also be alive to the reality that.

Covid-19 also on its own has made it possible that we regress in a number of areas in terms of other disease because all the resources in the past two and a half years were so focused on dealing with covert so some of the air conditions got to be neglected and some of the parents never took their children for the immunization.

So they catch up and if you remember there was a time wherein we had shortages of a vaccines for children as a result of the supply that we were supposed to get some from overseas these are National tenders that are also involved here so that will give us an opportunity this time around to say let’s get a ketchup plan let’s get basic.

Education to assist uh talking to Learners themselves to say go and look in your card ask your mother for that card if you did get this a a vaccine so children themselves we know they’re going to help us to make sure they are up to date in terms of the immunization just one final question before I let you go I know you spoke about your team.

Isolating the cases that you know of in the areas that you know of in Limpopo uh is there can you confirm for us or do you have any information about whether or not somebody from those areas have crossed borders into other provinces that’s the first part of the question and the second part of the question is I’m assuming uh you have been in contact.

With the national health department and there’ll be an alert of some kind for your colleagues in other provinces to be on alert not just for cases but also to start looking at the areas that perhaps have been under serviced in terms of vaccinations and yes working with the nicd we we have made sure because also the area of.

Skukone it’s bordering with mbumalanga Province uh while the current cases that we have seen uh we we do not have history of traveling uh to outside the province we are alert and you know you will never know whether the patients are telling the truth because as I’ve indicated where we found these cases it is a house I would say it’s a healing.

House where there’s a traditional healer who receive patients from all over the country so some of them might be going back today and tomorrow uh today even though we have tried to say no one must leave until we have cleared all of you those who are symptomatics who want to at least isolate you for seven days and they will be sure that where you’re.

Going you might not in fact but we have been in contact with our country but our officials especially focusing on our neighboring Province like mpumalanga to say we have these particular cases but as we are doing a profiling of these cases and the contracts we will be able to get more information where these patients are coming from because some of.

Them do not want to open up but we know with time let’s develop trust once they trust us they got confidence they’ll be able to tell us where they’re coming from who have they contacted and then in that way we will as a country be able to kept it and I believe that a South African a resilience and I believe that our healthcare workers have managed to.

Manage to to to learn from the the worst scenario which was a novel virus which is covid-19 dealing with measles is not something that would be too complicated we know where the problem are the problems are the apathy in terms of taking our children for vaccination taking responsibility as individuals as parents so that is where the message.

Must be on the community we have said to all our primary finances to the OPG nurses in the hospitals let’s stop staying in the hospital called disease are not in the hospital when someone presenting the hospital it’s a sign that the system out there in the community is collapsing so we’re taking everyone out there let’s do door-to-door talk to the.

People ask them what do they know about measles let’s get the community registration let’s get into let’s get the traditional leader there like in this Village you have already contacted the traditional leader we want to go and address the community there about measles the complications the dangers because some people think no it’s just.

Rush they forget that some of the children might end up with hearing loss they might end up with eyesight challenges they might some might end up with pneumonia and even die of of measles and even the adults who thinks they are not a infected that we do have adults who have been infected we we have seen adults especially those whose.

Immune system it’s compromised if you’re diabetic if you hypertensive if you’ve got cardiac problems you get measles you’re gonna complicated pneumonia and you might die because your immune system is weak so people must not just think this is about fever and rash we are worried about it can complicate we’ve seen babies with diarrhea and vomiting.

Ended up dehydrated and they end up dying sometimes with kidney failure so we want people to know not scaring them but we want them to understand how important is it for us to fight measles and to eradicate so that people can know that every disease must be eradicated within the community and every single condition must be.

Elevated to the status of covid-19 if we do that we will be able to save lives indeed Back to Basics and follow the signs thanks so much limpopo’s health MEC Dr popi ramatuba joining us virtually there they are dealing with a measles outbreak in Limpopo in certain parts rural areas specifically uh some interesting insight there about what the.

Health workers on the ground are dealing with