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Measles in South Africa - Update 1

20 Feb 2023

South Africa continues to see measles outbreaks in five of its northern provinces. From 3 October 2022 to 11 February 2023, 537 confirmed cases were reported from Limpopo (190 cases), Mpumalanga (94 cases), North West (169 cases), Gauteng (61 cases), and Free State (23 cases).

A smaller number of cases has been reported from other provinces: Eastern Cape (2 cases), Northern Cape (4 cases), Western Cape (8 cases) and KwaZulu-Natal (9 cases).

Measles is a highly infectious disease spread through sneezing, coughing or direct contact with respiratory fluids. It causes a rash, high temperature (fever) and muscle aches and can have serious complications.

Advice for Travellers

Travelling abroad may increase your risk of measles. Your risk of exposure may be higher if you will be visiting friends and relatives and/or mixing with the local population during your trip.

Two doses of measles vaccine (given as part of MMR in the UK) are needed in your lifetime to fully protect you.

Check with your GP before travelling to ensure you have received two doses of MMR vaccination.

If you have been previously infected with measles, this also provides you with lifelong immunity against the disease.

Children should be up to date with the UK Vaccination Schedule. This includes a dose of MMR vaccine at around 12-13 months, and a second dose usually given from 3 years 4 months of age.

  • If your child has not yet had 2 doses of the MMR vaccine, talk to your GP or travel health professional as they may be able to have the vaccine earlier than normal if you are travelling to an area considered to have a high risk of exposure to measles.

See the fitfortravel MMR page for further information.