Stephane Dujarric, chief spokesman for United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres, said Tuesday that a UN team is working in South Africa with the government on the response to the continuing measles outbreak.
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Five of the country's nine provinces are affected by the outbreak, said the chief spokesman, who added that Resident Coordinator Nelson Muffuh is leading the UN's mass vaccination efforts.
Response actions have included the deployment of technical experts from the World Health Organization (WHO). Their tasks include case investigation and awareness campaigns targeting the population in unaffected provinces.
With the new academic year about to start in the coming weeks, vaccination is being reinforced with a United Nations Children's Fund truck touring the provinces affected by the disease. UN agencies continue to carry out communication campaigns to this end, according to Dujarric.
South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) reported 397 measles cases last week, with 40 percent (the majority) in the 5-9 age group. The NICD warned that the number of cases is increasing daily.
According to WHO, measles is a highly infectious viral disease that is transmitted through droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected people and spreads rapidly among non-vaccinated people.