Tonga Measles Outbreak 2019 - Situation Report #2

Situation Report
Originally published


1. Summary of Situation


During a rugby trip from Tonga to New Zealand involving 60 schoolboys and 8 team officials in September, one boy became ill and was laboratory confirmed as having measles in NZ. That boy remained in NZ (returning to Tonga after the infectious period had ended) while the remainder of the squad returned to Tonga on 1st October. Boys in the touring squad came from the following schools and locations: Tonga College 'Atele (TCA), Tupou College Toloa (TCT) (a boarding school), Tonga High School (THS) and a small number from other schools on Tongatapu and the islands of Vava'u. Ha'apai and 'Eua.

Over the period 8th - 10th October, 12 boys (aged 15 or 16 y/o) from the rugby group who had shared a room with the index case sought medical attention at the Vaiola Hospital, presenting with fever and rash. Samples taken from 6 of these boys tested positive for measles (RT-PCR for measles RNA). Further serology results will follow. Another suspected case presented in Vava'u.

The Epidemic Task Force was convened comprising public health, clinician and laboratory representatives and met first on 9th October and again 16th October.

Initial Response

Public health staff attended the schools involved and undertook the following activities:

  • Identified cases, advised on isolation of cases

  • Collected samples from 7 cases

  • Identified contacts, managed quarantine of contacts

  • Provided advice to school Principals and staff and parents

  • Undertook post exposure vaccination of contacts at three schools. Numbers vaccinated: TCT 165, TCA 179, THS 19.

  • Vaccination clinic held on Saturday 12th October for missed school contacts

  • Following development of symptoms in a contact at THS, approximately further 100 contacts were given post-exposure vaccination. Information was provided and management of contacts implemented.

Other actions:

  • Provided advice on management of case and contacts in Vava'u

  • Commenced preparation of measles vaccination histories of cases

  • Prepared media release and held media interview on Friday 18th.

Refer to first report issued 17th October for further detail of the initial cases and response.