THE KZN Department of Health (DoH) recently issued a statement on its website advising the public to ensure their children are vaccinated against measles. According to the statement, the DoH issued the statement to mitigate the possible spread of measles and other communicable diseases. “The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health has urged parents to ensure that all children have a complete vaccination schedule,” the statement reads.According to the DoH the call to parents to ensure children are vaccinated follows the recent diagnosis of a few isolated cases of measles in three districts within the province - eThekwini, Umgungundlovu and Ilembe.Six confirmed cases of measles were discovered in the Umgungundlovu district recently, the department stated. “The department recently discovered there are currently 27 cases of measles in Kwa-Zulu-Natal,” the statement reads.Measles is a viral infection, spread from person to person through saliva by coughing, sneezing or being in close contact with an infected person. Symptoms include fever, a rash and flu-like symptoms.Complications can include lung infection (pneumonia), diarrhoea, dehydration, blindness, brain infection (encephalitis) or death. Most people recover fully from measles, but complications are unpredictable. It is common in children, but elderly people, who have not received the measles vaccine can also be infected.The DoH said the majority of the cases confirmed in the three districts were mostly diagnosed among a particular community and are being traced with the aim of offering the measles vaccination, irrespective of age. “The confirmed cases are of people between the age of nine months old and 51 years. The department strongly encouraged people in the affected communities to urgently take advantage of the vaccination that is offered at public health institutions in order to avoid any further transmission of the virus,” the statement reads.Vaccination is the most effective way of preventing measles and other opportunistic diseases that might affect growth development in children.According to the DoH, children are vaccinated against measles as part of the expanded programme on immunisation (SA-EPI) schedule at six months and again receive a booster at 12 months. At least 95% of people get protected from measles after the two doses.“The department will continue to liaise with the affected communities to communicate all measles response activities that need to be implemented. “The department would like to reiterate that people should be aware of symptoms of measles so they can seek help early and be vaccinated to prevent infection and spreading measles to other people,” reads a statement on the department’s website. - Supplied.