Six new cases of measles

July 2, 2022 8:36 am

The Health Ministry has identified six cases of measles.

Two cases of measles were identified in Labasa, three in Rewa, and one in Nasinu.

The ministry has initiated an immediate containment response, and it includes the management and isolation of confirmed cases, home quarantine of immediate family members, and contact tracing.

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The ministry states that all children aged six months to 11 years residing in Rewa, Macuata, Suva, and Nasinu will receive one dose of the measles vaccine.

In addition, all children who have turned one, and those in Year 6 who are yet to receive their measles vaccine are encouraged to turn up to the nearest health facility for their vaccination.

Permanent Secretary Doctor James Fong says vaccination is an essential response to measles outbreaks.

He says the ministry is embarking on a supplementary immunization campaign to protect high-risk groups who may not have immunity to measles and stop the outbreak from spreading beyond the current sub-divisions.

Fong adds that the ministry will continue to evaluate the target age group for the measles vaccination, depending on new cases confirmed and their age groups.

Measles is a highly contagious, serious, airborne disease caused by the measles virus, and spread through air droplets as well as by direct contact. The virus infects the respiratory tract and spread throughout the body.

The signs and symptoms of measles includes high fever, running nose, cough, red and watery eyes.

Small white spots inside the cheeks in the initial stage and after several days a rash erupts usually on the face and upper neck. It will spread within three days reaching the hands and feet lasting for five to six days.

Any individual presenting with the above signs and symptoms is requested to visit their nearest health facility for immediate attention and treatment.

The ministry also highlighted that due to an effective immunization program, measles is rare in Fiji.

However, it is expected that routine childhood immunization coverage has dropped due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as it has in many other countries and this increases the risk of outbreaks.