Recent advances in the surveillance for measles: when will these be feasible in Africa?
Measles is a highly contagious viral infection with worldwide prevalence. It is transmitted by airborne route and has an incubation period is 8–12 days. Symptoms include fever, coryza, cough, rash, while signs include exudative conjunctivitis, maculopapular rashes. The population at risk for measles are those less than five years of age especially infants, those above 20 years of age, the immuno-suppressed and immune-compromised patients such as those with HIV/AIDS, those on steroids and chemotherapy, those with severe malnutrition. We aim to describe the different surveillance methods for measles including the traditional and modern methods, their evaluation and analysis. The traditional surveillance for measles includes over the counter sales of antipyretics and cough syrups, data from school absenteeism and school nurses, daily physician office visit, hospital ED visits, hospital admission data, nurse hotline data, emergency medical services and ambulance 911 calls and laboratory test requests. Measles surveillance can also be done using modern methods which can be used at the local, state and regional levels for the detection of measles outbreak. These modern methods include the Electronic Surveillance System for the early notification of community-based epidemics (ESSENCE), the real-time outbreak detection system (RODS), early aberration reporting system (EARS), Redbat and the syndrome reporting information system (SYRIS). Telehealth is another modern method for the surveillance of measles which detects outbreak of measles earlier regardless of how far the patient is from the healthcare centers. The various disease surveillance methods above are effective and beneficial in terms of early detection of outbreaks and situation analysis for measles and are hence recommended for use.