Alert about measles outbreak in the Western Cape

07 February 2017
Campus announcement
7 February 2017

Dear students and colleagues

We have received an alert from the Western Cape Department of Health about an outbreak of measles in the Stellenbosch region. However, we are at this stage not aware of any University of Cape Town students or staff who have been reported to have the disease.

Measles is an infectious disease and can spread rapidly among people who have not been immunised. Adults who received the measles vaccine as young children are also susceptible because of waning immunity. While we urge you to stay calm, it is important to take precautions, especially if you are pregnant or immunocompromised.

Preventative immunisation is essential to reduce the spread of the disease. Students and staff are encouraged to access community clinics, which have limited measles vaccines available, and private pharmacies who stock Trimovax, a combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. The vaccine is contraindicated in pregnant women and immunocompromised individuals.

We encourage all students who have completed their deferred exams to return home as soon as possible to reduce the possibility of coming into contact with someone who has been exposed to measles.

It is important to be aware of the symptoms of measles, which can appear 10?14 days after exposure to the virus.

The signs and symptoms for suspected measles

Fever (usually higher than 38 degrees) and generalised red rash and one of the three listed below:

  • dry cough
  • runny nose
  • inflamed eyes (conjunctivitis).

A person with measles is most infectious from about four days before the rash appears until four days after the rash appears.

Call your doctor immediately if you think you may have been exposed to measles or if you have symptoms and signs suggestive of measles. If you are a student on campus, you can contact the Student Wellness Service on 021 650 1020. If you have visited your private doctor, please inform Student Wellness so that we can keep track of any cases on campus.

An outbreak of measles can be contained if everybody remains calm, watches for possible symptoms and reports to a health professional as soon as any symptoms appear.

Communication and Marketing Department

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