18 October 2019, Nuku’alofa, Tonga:
The Tonga Ministry of Health advises that cases of measles have been identified in a high school rugby group, who were playing rugby in New Zealand in September. The team returned to Tonga on 1st October. The Ministry has taken rapid steps to prevent further spread of the virus including isolating the current cases at home, vaccinating contacts of the cases and quarantining the remaining squad members, staff and other contacts.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Health, Dr Siale ‘Akau’ola said, “Parents of players have been contacted and provided with information about measles and the boys have been instructed to remain at home until we are sure that they will not develop measles.”
Dr Siale ‘Akau’ola advised that “the Ministry is confident that steps have been taken to contain spread of the virus, however, measles is a highly infectious disease and it is possible that further cases may occur.”
RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE PUBLIC:
The Ministry of Health wishes to remind the public to stay alert for measles signs and symptoms and to get immunized against measles, especially if they are undertaking international travel. Vaccination is the safest and best protection against measles.
Dr Siale ‘Akau’ola said, “It is vital that we maintain our high vaccination rate in our ongoing fight against infectious disease. I urge parents to ensure that children are vaccinated according to the recommended immunisation schedule.” Children who have been fully immunised against measles normally have more than 95% protection against the disease.