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Measles numbers up to 16

December 5, 2019 8:12 am

There are now 16 confirmed cases of measles in the country.

The latest confirmed case is a 24-year-old from Sakoca in Tacirua, Suva.

The Health Ministry says the Suva Subdivisional Outbreak Response Team has rapidly responded to this latest case.

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The 16 cases to date are from the following areas in the Central Division:

• 11 cases from the Serua/Namosi Subdivision (Wailali, Wainadoi, Navunikabi, and Makosoi Deuba)

• 3 cases from Suva Subdivision (Samabula, Vatuwaqa, and Tacirua).

• 2 cases from Rewa Subdivision (Koronivia, Nasilai Village Nakelo).

Measles is a highly contagious disease; therefore, non-essential travel to Serua/Namosi and Nasilai Village in Nakelo is strongly discouraged.

Measles is very contagious.

To help stop the spread of the disease, the Ministry of Health is advising Fijians to take the following precaution

• Avoid non-essential travel to Serua/Namosi and Nasilai Village in Nakelo. If you need to travel to these areas, please get vaccinated against measles at least two weeks before travel.

• Please avoid taking those that cannot get vaccinated (e.g. babies under the age of 6 months and pregnant women) to the outbreak areas.

• Avoid holding or attending large gatherings of people, especially in Central Division, but also those that bring participants from across the country or overseas (such as youth camps, religious gatherings, graduation ceremonies, sporting events, etc.).

• Measles can spread very easily among large groups of people if they are not immune, who can then take the disease back into their communities.

• If you are holding an event with international visitors, or participants from an outbreak area, please strongly encourage them to get vaccinated against measles at least two (2) weeks before travel.

This especially applies to visitors traveling from other countries with measles outbreaks i.e. New Zealand, Samoa, and Tonga.

The Ministry of Health is conducting an immunization campaign targeting people who may not be fully immunized and are most at risk of measles infection.

Already close to 100,000 people around the country have been vaccinated in phase one of the campaign. This includes over 20,000 people in the outbreak area of Serua/Namosi.

People who got vaccinated in phase one of the campaign will not be vaccinated again in phase two. Only children who are due a second dose in line with the national vaccination schedule or children who have defaulted and are due for a second dose will be eligible.

The second phase of this immunization campaign began on Wednesday 4th December.

Across Fiji it is targeting people in the groups listed below:

1) Any child in Fiji who has not received 2 doses of a measles vaccine as per the national immunization schedule

2) Any child in Fiji aged 12 and 18 months who are due to their routine measles vaccine as per the national immunization schedule

3) Any person in Fiji traveling overseas, however evidence of travel must be provided i.e. travel itinerary or ticket

4) All health care workers in Fiji

5) All airport and hotel staff

In the Central Division only, the campaign will also target:

1) All children aged 6 months to 5 years

2) All people born between 1980 and 2000 (19 to 39-year-olds, who should have ID available if asked).

3) All residents of Serua/Namosi aged 6 months and older.

Pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, and those with a known allergy to the vaccine should not be vaccinated.

Central Division is prioritized for this phase of the campaign as all confirmed cases to date are in this division, and the focus remains on containing the current outbreak.

A batch of 200,000 vaccines received last weekend will be targeted for Central Division for the reasons detailed above.

The other divisions will be targeted once more vaccine supplies, which are currently on order, are received.

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