The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) issued a measles alert for Johannesburg this morning.
According to a NICD statement, 6 cases of measles have been confirmed in Johannesburg. The cases were mostly primary school children who haven’t been vaccinated against measles.
Signs and symptoms of measles
- Runny nose
- Red eyes
- Rash that starts three to five days later. Appears beginning at the head and quickly spreads to the body, arms and legs. This rash begins with little white spots on the lining of the cheeks called Koplik’s spots, followed by brownish-red spots behind the ears.
What to do if you think your child has measles:
- Check your baby’s temperature. If he has a fever, control this with tepid sponging and an antipyrexial such as paediatric Panado.
- Phone your doctor – visiting the consulting rooms or clinic could spread the virus so your doctor will advise you on what to do. Measles is a notifiable disease and will require a blood test (it cannot be differentiated from other childhood rash illnesses by symptoms and signs alone, it requires a confirmatory blood test).
- Keep your child at home and away from other children as well as pregnant women.
- Prevent dehydration by offering small and frequent amounts of liquids.
- Keep your child comfortable, treat symptoms and look out for complications.
- Only send your child back to school when the rash has faded.
- Don’t send your child to school if he has a fever – always wait until the fever has subsided as this could be the first symptom of measles.