Media Release 16: Measles (18 Dec 2019)
Update for the Ministry of Health and medical services.
Since the last update on December 13th 2019 there are now 23 confirmed cases of measles. The latest confirmed cases are a 13 month old and a 20 year old from Saumakia Village in Naitasiri.
There have now been 4 confirmed cases from Saumakia Village. This includes the 27 year old and the 9 month old from Davuilevu (who had stayed at Saumakia Village) reported in earlier media releases. The 9 month old had been admitted to CWM Hospital and has since been discharged home.
The Naitasiri outbreak response team has carried out the necessary interventions including isolation of cases, quarantine and vaccination of contacts and at risk communities as appropriate, and follow up of cases and contacts.
There are no confirmed cases of measles currently admitted in hospital. All cases have recovered or are recovering well at home.
The 23 cases to date are from the following areas in the Central Division:
12 cases from the Serua/Namosi Subdivision (Wailali, Wainadoi, Navunikabi, and Makosoi Deuba)
4 cases from Suva Subdivision (Samabula, Vatuwaqa, Tacirua, Wailekutu).
3 cases from Rewa Subdivision (Koronivia, Nasilai Village Nakelo, Davuilevu).
4 cases from Naitasiri Subdivision (Saumakia Village)
Measles is a highly contagious disease; therefore, non-essential travel to Saumakia Village in Naitasiri, Serua/Namosi, and Nasilai Village in Nakelo Rewa is strongly discouraged.
Mass Immunisation Campaign Update
7 days to go #VaccinatebyChristmas
The national measles immunisation campaign is now running in all Divisions
Since the outbreak was declared on Thursday 7 November 2019, approximately 235,000 people in Fiji have been immunised against measles.
We are especially urging parents of children aged 6 months to 5 years of age to get their children immunised during this campaign as children under the age of 5 are most at risk of being infected by measles and developing the complications of the disease.
In order to reach these children, and the other target groups, the Ministry is closing some outreach posts in Central Division and sending more teams house to house to provide vaccinations. This information has been updated in the daily measles advisories.
From Wednesday 18 December, the following outreach posts will be closed in Central Division:
Dokanai Suva Police Post
- My Suva Park
Opposite Rajendra supermarket, Nabua
Lami Tikaram Park
In addition to house to house visits, immunisation for all target groups will still be available at all Ministry of Health and Medical Services health centres and nursing stations.
Immunisation outreach posts will also still be open Monday-Friday at the following locations in Central Division:
Nausori Nausori old market
Nausori Health Centre
Nakasi Health Centre
Rups Mega Complex
9am to 6pm
Valelevu Valelevu grounds
Valelevu Health Centre
9am to 6pm
Raiwaqa Raiwaqa Health Centre grounds 9am to 6pm
Lami Lami Health Centre
Lami Town Council Building
9am to 6pm
Suva Sukuna Park 9am to 6pm
Makoi Makoi Health Centre
Makoi Maternity Unit
9am to 6pm
Samabula Samabula Health Centre 9am to 6pm
Immunisation will continue to be available as previously advised in Western, Northern and Eastern Divisions.
The national campaign is targeting people who are most at risk of being infected by measles and spreading the disease:
All children aged 6 months to 5 years - All people born between 1980 and 2000 (19 to 39 year olds who should have ID available if asked)
Any child who has not received 2 doses of a measles vaccine according to the national immunisation schedule - Any child aged 12 and 18 months in Fiji who are due their routine measles immunisation according to the national immunisation schedule - Any person travelling overseas (with evidence of travel i.e. a travel itinerary or ticket)
All health care workers - All airport and port-of-entry workers, and hotel staff
The only exceptions to those in the above groups are pregnant women, children under the age of 6 months, those with compromised immune systems (including those on immunosuppressive medication/treatment), and those with a known allergy to the vaccine. These people should not be vaccinated.
People aged 40 and over are not a target group. They are likely to have had measles as a child (before the vaccine was introduced) and therefore have life-long immunity.
The Ministry of Health and Medical Services wishes to acknowledge the assistance provided by UNICEF and the Australian and New Zealand Governments in securing vaccines for Fiji. And we also thank the World Health Organisation for their continuous technical support.
Measles is a highly infectious airborne viral disease that spreads easily through the air through breathing, coughing, and sneezing. You are at risk of getting measles if you breathe the same air as someone with the disease and you are not immune. You are not immune if you have not been vaccinated, or you have never had the disease.
The symptoms of measles are:
Fever and a rash with any of the following: runny nose, sneezing, cough, red/watery eyes, white spots inside the mouth. The rash starts after the other symptoms and spreads all over the body.
There is no specific antiviral treatment for measles, as it is your body’s immune system that fights off the disease. Most people recover from a measles infection in 8-10 days with rest, and ensuring that they are eating and drinking to avoid dehydration.
Some people infected with measles develop severe complications such as pneumonia (infection of the lungs) or encephalitis (brain swelling). These people require hospitalization. Children under the age of five, babies younger than one year old, pregnant women, adults over the age of twenty, and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk of complications.
A safe and effective vaccine exists for measles. The Ministry of Health and Medical Services provides measles vaccine free to children. Since 2003, all children in Fiji are offered two (2) doses of the combination measles-rubella vaccine – starting from twelve months of age. Fiji’s immunization coverage for children is good, and the Ministry also conducted a supplemental campaign in 2017 for all one to ten year olds. Please ensure your children have received at least two doses of the measles vaccine according to the Fiji immunization schedule. This information should be in your child’s ‘Fiji Child Health Record’ (which is a booklet/card every child born in Fiji is provided) for children under the age of 5, and the school health card for school aged children.
Measles in Fiji
Because we have an effective immunization program, measles is rare in Fiji. However, outbreaks around the world, including in neighbouring countries, still puts Fiji at risk of having cases of measles.