“Today [Monday] the department starts a mass immunisation campaign targeting all children between the ages of six months to 15 years against measles and polio,” KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo's spokesman Chris Maxon said in a statement.
The first round of the campaign would end on April 23. The second phase, which would include vitamin A shots and deworming, would be rolled out between May 24 and 28.
“The aim is to immunise close to 3.1 million children in KwaZulu-Natal.”
Maxon said there were measles outbreaks in various provinces.
“At this stage KwaZulu-Natal has 1238 confirmed measles cases as of October 2009. The disease outbreak is affecting all the districts except ILembe and Ugu.”
Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus. The first sign is usually a high fever which begins about 10 to 12 days after exposure to the virus.
A runny nose, a cough, red and watery eyes and small white spots inside the cheeks can develop in the initial stage. After several days a rash erupts, usually on the face and upper neck.
The department urged people to get their children immunised.