South African Medical Journal

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Unsustainability of a measles immunisation campaign - rise in measles incidence within 2 years of the campaign

SS Abdool Karim, Q Abdool Karim, A Dilraj, M Chamane


The 1990 national mass measles immunisation campaign resulted in a marked reduction in measles incidence in Natal/KwaZulu in the first 6 months after the campaign. Data from the measles ward admissions book at Clairwood Hospital were collated for the period 1 January 1989 to 31 May 1992 to assess the sustainability of the effects of the campaign. For the first 12 months after the campaign, measles admissions were consistently low. Thereafter, the number increased steadily, rising sharply to above precampaign levels 21 months after the campaign. The age distribution of measles patients indicated that the initial fall in the 10 - 12-month age group had been reversed in the second year after the campaign, suggesting that the high vaccination coverage achieved for this age group during the campaign had not been maintained. Measles admissions to Clairwood Hospital indicate that the effect of the measles imInunisation campaign has not been sustained and that urgent action is required to avert a possible epidemic.

S Afr Med J 1993; 83: 322-323.

AJOL African Journals Online