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Polio, Measles campaign coming soon

by South African Govt News Agency
on 11 Jun 2013
South African Government News Agency
South African Government News Agency

The second round of the annual polio and measles campaign will start on Monday, June 17 until June 28, the Free State Health Department announced on Tuesday.

Departmental acting spokesperson, Mondli Mvambi said the campaign will be targeting children from 9 months to 59 months (under 5 years) will also receive an additional dose of measles vaccine, but only if they were not vaccinated against measles during the first round.

The first round took place from 29 April to 19 May 2013, but large numbers of children in the particular age groups did not turn up for immunisation.

Mvambi said schools, crèches and day care centres will be visited by professional nurses, adding that parents will be requested to sign consent.

"Children can also be taken to the nearest clinic for the immunisations.

"The vaccines are free and no Road to Health booklets (baby cards) is required. The children's fingers will be marked after they received the vaccines," said Mvambi.

South Africa had more cases of measles from 2009 to 2011 than the years before. Measles can be a serious disease. It can cause blindness, hearing problems, brain damage, pneumonia and even death.

Right now, many children have received one or two doses of measles vaccine during their first two years of life.

Those doses work in about 9 out of 10 children. Outbreaks may still occur amongst those that were not immunised or amongst those in whom the vaccine did not work.

There are three countries in the world where polio is an endemic. They are Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Currently South Africa has a polio free status.

The World Health Organization (WHO) set the goal to eradicate Polio globally by 2015. The polio and measles campaign is one of the national strategies to eradicate these diseases.

Causes of measles

Measles is a virus and is spread by droplets. If a person is sick with measles and he sneezes, coughs or even kisses a person, the virus can be transmitted to a healthy person. The virus is very infectious. The only way to prevent measles is by immunisations.

Importance of polio vaccinations

Polio is caused by a virus. It is transmitted via the fecal-oral route. The virus multiplies in the throat and the gut and is excreted again in the stools.

The virus affects the nerves and causes paralysis. Polio is a crippling disease and the only way to prevent it is the administration of polio vaccine. Children under 15 years that are not fully immunized are most at risk.

Safety of Vaccine

Both measles and polio vaccine have been used in South Africa for more than 19 years. A few people may get a slight fever or rash 7 to 10 days after the measles injection is given.

Serious side effects from the vaccines are very rare – a lot more rare than the serious complications of the disease itself. -

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