Cape Town, Dec 16: South Africa was put on high alert for a measles outbreak on Monday, with a number of cases reported from five provinces since the start of this year.
About 49 laboratory-confirmed measles cases have been reported since the beginning of this year, said Joe Maila, spokesperson for the national department of health.
The most number of cases were reported from the Northern Cape province, with 18 cases being detected.
There was indeed a measles outbreak in South Africa, Maila said, adding, "however, we are doing everything to make sure that we contain it, so that it (does) not spread at the level (where) people start to get worried".
"The department of health (is) working tirelessly with the National Institute for Communicable Diseases to contain the virus and ensure that it is not spreading," Maila assured.
Measles is a highly contagious viral illness. It is spread by contact with fluids from an infected person's nose, mouth, or throat. Sneezing and coughing can put contaminated bodily fluids into the air.
Rash is often the main symptom of the illness. Other symptoms may include bloodshot eyes, cough and fever.