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The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has noted an increase in German measles in Cape Town.

The specific area in question is Khayelitsha and the increase is measured on a weekly basis through laboratory-confirmed cases.

The increase in German measles, or rubella as its also known, has been noted in the since the second week of September.

The NICD said in a statement that “to date, 19 cases have been identified through serological testing, and all are in the 5-9-year age group”.

The NICD also said that “anecdotal reports of increased numbers of clinically suspected cases without laboratory confirmation in the Khayelitsha sub-district of the City of Cape Town have been received”.

Although there is usually a seasonal outbreak visible from the first week in September, the high numbers this year has meant the World Health Organisation (WHO) has also become involved.

This has prompted the National Department of Health to implement a rubella vaccination programme in 2024. The aim of the programme is to support the WHO global measles-rubella eradication 2030 target.

From next year, the rubella vaccine will be administered with the measles vaccine at 6 and 12 months.

Image credit: South African

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