South African measles outbreak update as at 09 March 2023


  • The NICD has tested 4608 serum samples for measles since epidemiological week 40, 2022, of which 727 (15.8%) were confirmed positive. 721 cases have been reported in outbreak-affected provinces since week 40, In the past weeks (week 08 up until mid-week 09, 2023), 74 laboratory-confirmed measles cases were detected across the country, of which 72 are from outbreak-affected provinces.
  • The percentage of samples testing positive (PTP) decreased slightly from 20% of 305 samples tested in week 07 to 18% of the 274 samples tested in week 08.
  • A measles outbreak has now been declared in all the provinces in South Africa except for the Eastern Cape.
  • The measles strain detected in Limpopo province and North West province is genotype D8, similar to the strain in Zimbabwe in the 2022 outbreak.
  • In the provinces where an outbreak has been declared, the most affected age groups are still the 5–9-year-olds (42%) with a considerable proportion of cases reported among the 1-4 (25%) and 10-14 age groups (19%). Vaccination campaigns should therefore also include children aged 10 to 14.
  • The majority of cases (70%) were reported from primary healthcare facilities, and the highest proportion of cases reported from hospitals (56%) was reported in children under the age of one.
  • Members of the public are urged to ensure their children are vaccinated against measles.

Communicated by: National Institute for Communicable Diseases