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Measles outbreak: Ministry advises against mass gatherings

November 21, 2019 5:08 pm
Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete says Fijians need to understand that measles is a deadly airborne disease and children are at high risk of contracting it.

The Health Ministry is advising the public to refrain from mass gatherings.

Not only in the Serua/Namosi subdivision where there is a measles outbreak but also in the Suva/Nausori corridor.

Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete says Fijians need to understand that measles is a deadly airborne disease and children are at high risk of contracting it.

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Fijians are urged to not take the measles cases lightly, as to date there have been nine confirmed cases.

“The eighth or ninth case from what I hear was the family had gone to visit somebody in Serua/Namosi, came back and somebody got sick. We have to realize that this disease kills. It kills children. We have to see what’s happening around the world and around the region to see how serious it is. We should not test it or tempt it. That’s the bottom line. Don’t play around with measles.”

The Minister is also urging employers to help stop the spread of measles by not penalizing employees who are under quarantine and unable to attend work.

He says the Public Health Act of 1932 allows them to enforce isolation and quarantine those affected.

“Please don’t ask us to bring staff over to workplaces to do vaccinations. We can’t do that. Initially, we were doing it and now we can’t. We just need to make sure that employers can be able to release staff that is at risk to be able to get vaccinations.”

Dr. Waqainabete says the Ministry has administered 110, 000 vaccinations to date.

“I was briefly told that we have gone through 90,000 vaccines. That’s before the 35,000 that came and we have gone through another 20,000 of that so really we have gone through 110,000 vaccinations and that does not even include the normal vaccinations we have to do for children who are 12 months and 18 months – that carries out as normal.”

The next batch of 200,000 vaccines will arrive in the country over the weekend or early next week.

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