So far this year the National Institute for Communicable Diseases has issued reports on three different outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases – measles, mumps, and diphtheria. Elri Voigt spoke to local experts about these outbreaks and what it tells us about the country’s immunisation programme and the potential for future outbreaks.
The World Health Organization in February this year said that an estimated 1.1 million new cancer cases are being reported in Africa each year with around 700 000 deaths from cancer. A recent report provides important new data on cancer in South Africa, but the picture remains incomplete. Ufrieda Ho reports.
Almost 400 cases of measles have been reported across five provinces over the last four months. The NICD has advised that clinicians should be on high alert, as the opening of schools may lead to localised outbreaks. Elri Voigt reports on the current state of the outbreak, the potential outcomes, and what is being done to curtail the spread of measles in the country.
The Nelson Mandela Bay metro in the Eastern Cape is in the grips of a severe drought. Public health facilities in the metro have been hit hard with some having to close or reduce the number of people they attend to. Authorities say measures are in place to prevent a complete standstill. Luvuyo Mehlwana reports.
A recently published survey found that only 76.8% of children surveyed have received all their required childhood vaccines. Elri Voigt unpacks the survey findings and asks whether a recent measles outbreak in Gauteng may be a harbinger of worse outbreaks to come.
Indications are that the virus that causes COVID-19 is going to continue evolving and escaping the protection against infection people already have. Researchers are working on next-generation vaccines tailored to fight off specific versions of the virus, like the Omicron sub-lineages BA.4 and BA.5. But can these new vaccines be tested and produced fast enough to keep up with the rapidly changing virus? Aisha Abdool Karim asked some local experts.
Omicron and its sub-variants have been dominating new surges of SARS-CoV-2 infections around the world and were behind South Africa’s fifth wave. The BA.4 and BA.5 sub-lineages unveiled yet more surprises about the evasive nature of these ever-emerging forms of SARS-CoV-2. They also hold clues for what to expect next and how to prepare. Aisha Abdool Karim reports.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is estimated to affect 64 million people and claim around 160 000 lives around the world every year. Infants are most vulnerable and there is no effective treatment or vaccine. Tiyese Jeranji asks what we know about RSV in South Africa.
COVID began to hit South Africa badly in May 2020. Now, we are very likely beyond the worst with fewer people dying but COVID remains very infectious and rather deadly, writes Nathan Geffen and Marcus Low.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic has stymied the progress of the tuberculosis response across the world, the call for increased investment is important. Although health programmes can always do with more financial assistance, in South Africa, for its TB Recovery Plan to work, the focus should be on the strategic use of existing resources, argues Russell Rensburg.