Statement from the Ministry of Health on measles outbreak (7 Nov 2019)
The Ministry of Health and Medical Services is declaring an outbreak of measles for the Serua/Namosi Subdivision. There have been two (2) confirmed cases and two (2) suspected cases reported from Wailali Settlement in Wainadoi. Three (3) of the cases have recovered or are recovering at home, and one is currently admitted in hospital.
Anyone who was in Navua Hospital on the evening of Tuesday 4th of November, or in the IMCI children’s clinic on the morning of Wednesday 5th November is requested to please contact the Subdivisional Medical Officer using the phone numbers below
To contact the Subdivisional Medical Officer Serua/Namosi, phone: 8919356 or 9493213.
The Serua/Namosi Subdivisional Outbreak Response Team has activated their measles response plan, which includes isolating cases and tracing and vaccinating those that had contact with the cases, as well as vaccinating communities at risk.
- you may have been exposed to measles and it is important you get in contact as soon as possible. Also, contact the Subdivisional Medical Officer if you live in the Serua/Namosi area and have symptoms of measles.
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.
For the rest of Fiji:
Please ensure your children have received at least two (2) doses of the measles vaccine according to the Fiji immunization schedule. If they haven’t, or you are not sure, please visit your nearest health centre.
Please avoid non-essential travel to the outbreak area. If you are intending to travel to Serua/Namosi, please get vaccinated against measles at least two (2) weeks before travel (it can take up to two (2) weeks for the vaccine to take effect). Free vaccine is available at your nearest Ministry of Health and Medical Services health centre for those aged twelve (12) months and above who are travelling overseas or to an outbreak area.
Babies aged between six (6) and twelve (12) months can also get vaccinated if they are travelling to an area with an ongoing outbreak of measles – but they will still need to receive their next scheduled measles vaccines as per the Fiji immunisation schedule. Pregnant women should not be vaccinated.
Please be aware of the symptoms of measles, and if you have them, please call ahead before going to your health centre to avoid spreading the disease to others.
The Ministry of Health and Medical Services urges the public to take heed of our advice to protect yourselves and your families from measles.
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 breath 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 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 (5), babies younger than one (1) year old, pregnant women, adults over the age of twenty (20), and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk of complications.
A safe and effective vaccine exists for measles. Since 2003, all children in Fiji are offered two (2) doses of the combination measles-rubella vaccine - starting from twelve (12) months of age. Fiji’s immunization coverage for children is good, and the Ministry also conducted a supplemental campaign in 2017 for all one (1) to ten (10) year olds.
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.