Media Release 18: Measles (26 Dec 2019)
Since the last update on December 23rd, 2019 there are now 25 confirmed cases of measles. The latest confirmed case is a 11-month-old from Nabua who was admitted under isolation at CWM Hospital in Suva yesterday and discharged today.
The 3-month-old baby reported in the previous update continues to be admitted under isolation at CWM Hospital. All other cases confirmed earlier have recovered or are recovering well under home isolation.
All 25 cases are from the following areas in the Central Division:
12 cases from the Serua/Namosi Subdivision (Wailali, Wainadoi, Navunikabi, and Makosoi Deuba)
6 cases from Suva Subdivision (Nabua, Samabula, Vatuwaqa, Tacirua, Wailekutu and Naikorokoro Village in Lami).
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 Naikorokoro Village in Lami, Saumakia Village in Naitasiri, Serua/Namosi, and Nasilai Village in Nakelo Rewa is strongly discouraged.
National Measles Immunisation Campaign Update
The national measles campaign will continue to target people who are most at risk of being infected by measles and spreading the disease.
Since the outbreak was declared on Thursday 7 November 2019, around 328,000 people in Fiji have been immunised against measles. The Ministry of Health and Medical Services is urging everyone in the target groups to get vaccinated if they haven’t already during this campaign.
We are especially urging parents of children aged 6 months to 5 years of age to get their children vaccinated against measles during this campaign, even if the child has received all routine vaccinations according to the national immunisation schedule. Children under the age of 5 are most at risk of being infected by measles and developing the complications of the disease.
Vaccination for all target groups is available at immunisation outreach posts listed in daily advisories in newspapers and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services Facebook page and website (www.health.gov.fj). Vaccination is also available at all health centres and nursing stations.
The national Measles 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 regardless of prior vaccination history
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.
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.