1. Summary of Situation
The outbreak of measles in Tonga began in early October 2019, following the return of a squad of Tongan rugby players from New Zealand. The first rugby player developed measles in New Zealand. Subsequently, a further 12 players developed laboratory-confirmed measles after returning to Tonga. The early outbreak involved mainly teenagers from schools on Tongatapu, as well as students from Vava’u High School. Cases on Vava’u appear to have slowed considerably, with the last case reported on 21 November 2019. Since the initial two waves of the outbreak, cases have been seen more widely in other age groups and cases have been seen in all 70 villages on the main island of Tongatapu. Small numbers of cases have been identified on the islands of ‘Eua, Niuatoputapu and Ha’apai. An inter-disciplinary Ministry of Health Epidemic Task Force meets weekly to advise on management of the outbreak. In addition to routine outbreak response activities, a time-limited vaccination program targeting secondary school students has almost been completed and vaccination efforts are now being directed at other target groups.