Fiji Measles – Frequently asked questions

Measles Advisory 7

Measles Advisory 5


MEDIA RELEASE 13: UPDATE FROM THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH

Since the last update on December 4th 2019 there are now 18 confirmed cases of measles. The latest confirmed cases are a 3 month old from Wailali Settlement in Wainadoi, and a 1 year 5 month old from Wailekutu in Lami. The respective outbreak response teams have rapidly responded to the latest cases.

The 18 cases to date are from the following areas in the Central Division:

  • 12 cases from the Serua/Namosi Subdivision (Wailali, Wainadoi, Navunikabi, and Makosoi Deuba)
  • 4 cases from Suva Subdivision (Samabula, Vatuwaqa, Tacirua, Wailekutu).
  • 2 cases from Rewa Subdivision (Koronivia, Nasilai Village Nakelo).

In the first two days of phase two of the mass vaccination campaign, over 70 health teams have vaccinated more than 45,000 people across Central Division.  Opening times of vaccination booths have been changed to 9.00am to 6.00pm Monday to Friday and they will also be open from 9.00am to 3.00pm on Saturday in all locations.  The Ministry will continue to issue daily advisories in all media outlets which will provide updates on the mass vaccination campaign.

Measles is a highly contagious disease; therefore, non-essential travel to Serua/Namosi and Nasilai Village in Nakelo is strongly discouraged, as are mass gatherings in these areas.  The Ministry advises that it will not support and has not supported any requests to condone mass gatherings in these locations.

To help stop the spread of the disease, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services also advises Fijians to take the following precautions:

  • Avoid non-essential travel to Serua/Namosi and Nasilai Village in Nakelo.  If you need to travel to these areas, please get vaccinated against measles at least two weeks before travel. Please avoid taking those that cannot get vaccinated (e.g. babies under the age of 6 months and pregnant women) to the outbreak areas.
  • Avoid holding or attending large gatherings of people, especially in Central Division, but also those that bring participants from across the country or overseas (such as youth camps, religious gatherings, graduation ceremonies, sporting events, etc.).  Measles can spread very easily among large groups of people if they are not immune, who can then take the disease back into their communities.
  • If you are holding an event with international visitors, or participants from an outbreak area, please strongly encourage them to get vaccinated against measles at least two (2) weeks before travel.  This especially applies to visitors traveling from other countries with measles outbreaks i.e. New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services is conducting an immunisation campaign targeting people who may not be fully immunised and are most at risk of measles infection. Close to 100,000 people around the country were vaccinated in phase one of the campaign. This includes over 20,000 people in the outbreak area of Serua/Namosi.

People who were vaccinated in phase one of the campaign will not be vaccinated again in phase two.

The second phase of this immunisation campaign began on Wednesday 4thDecember.

Across Fiji it is targeting people in the groups listed below:

1)    Any child in Fiji who has not received 2 doses of a measles vaccine as per the national immunisation schedule

2)    Any child in Fiji aged 12 and 18 months who is due their routine measles vaccine as per the national immunisation schedule

3)    Any person in Fiji travelling overseas, however evidence of travel must be provided i.e. travel itinerary or ticket

4)    All health care workers in Fiji

5)    All airport and hotel staff

 

In Central Division only, the campaign will also target:

1)    All children aged 6 months to 5 years

2)    All people born between 1980 and 2000 (19 to 39 year olds, who should have ID available if asked).

3)    All residents of Serua/Namosi aged 6 months and older.

Pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, and those with a known allergy to the vaccine should not be vaccinated.

Central Division is prioritized for this phase of the campaign as all confirmed cases to date are in this division, and the focus remains on containing the current outbreak. A batch of 200,000 vaccines received last weekend will be targeted for Central Division for the reasons detailed above.  The other divisions will be targeted once more vaccine supplies, which are currently on order, are received.

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, WHO for valuable technical support, Commissioner Central and his team for their tireless work in helping to keep Fijians safe from the spread of the disease, the Red Cross for providing volunteers, the Fiji Police Force for providing transport, operational support and safety and security advice and services, local government for providing sites and logistical support and a range of Government Ministries for their vehicles and drivers.  We also acknowledge the assistance from the business community in allowing the use of their facilities and their staff to take time off to get vaccinated.  To those who have generously deferred their mass gatherings we show gratitude on behalf of all Fijians.  And finally we thank all eligible citizens who have taken the time to get vaccinated. 


MEDIA RELEASE 12: MEASLES UPDATE FROM THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH

Since the last update on December 2nd 2019 there are now 16 confirmed cases of measles. The latest confirmed case is a 24 year old from Sakoca in Tacirua, Suva. The Suva Subdivisional Outbreak Response Team has rapidly responded to this latest case.

The 16 cases to date are from the following areas in the Central Division:

  • 11 cases from the Serua/Namosi Subdivision (Wailali, Wainadoi, Navunikabi, and Makosoi Deuba)
  • 3 cases from Suva Subdivision (Samabula, Vatuwaqa, and Tacirua).
  • 2 cases from Rewa Subdivision (Koronivia, Nasilai Village Nakelo).

Measles is a highly contagious disease; therefore, non-essential travel to Serua/Namosi and Nasilai Village in Nakelo is strongly discouraged.

Measles is very contagious.  To help stop the spread of the disease, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services also advises Fijians to take the following precautions:

  • Avoid non-essential travel to Serua/Namosi and Nasilai Village in Nakelo.  If you need to travel to these areas, please get vaccinated against measles at least two weeks before travel. Please avoid taking those that cannot get vaccinated (e.g. babies under the age of 6 months and pregnant women) to the outbreak areas.
  • Avoid holding or attending large gatherings of people, especially in Central Division, but also those that bring participants from across the country or overseas (such as youth camps, religious gatherings, graduation ceremonies, sporting events, etc.).  Measles can spread very easily among large groups of people if they are not immune, who can then take the disease back into their communities.
  • If you are holding an event with international visitors, or participants from an outbreak area, please strongly encourage them to get vaccinated against measles at least two (2) weeks before travel.  This especially applies to visitors traveling from other countries with measles outbreaks i.e. New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services is conducting an immunisation campaign targeting people who may not be fully immunised and are most at risk of measles infection. Already close to 100,000 people around the country have been vaccinated in phase one of the campaign. This includes over 20,000 people in the outbreak area of Serua/Namosi.

People who got vaccinated in phase one of the campaign will not be vaccinated again in phase two. Only children who are due a second dose in line with the national vaccination schedule or children who have defaulted and are due for a second dose will be eligible. 

The second phase of this immunisation campaign began on Wednesday 4thDecember.

Across Fiji it is targeting people in the groups listed below:

1)    Any child in Fiji who has not received 2 doses of a measles vaccine as per the national immunisation schedule

2)    Any child in Fiji aged 12 and 18 months who is due their routine measles vaccine as per the national immunisation schedule

3)    Any person in Fiji travelling overseas, however evidence of travel must be provided i.e. travel itinerary or ticket

4)    All health care workers in Fiji

5)    All airport and hotel staff

 

In Central Division only, the campaign will also target:

1)    All children aged 6 months to 5 years

2)    All people born between 1980 and 2000 (19 to 39 year olds, who should have ID available if asked).

3)    All residents of Serua/Namosi aged 6 months and older.

Pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, and those with a known allergy to the vaccine should not be vaccinated.

Central Division is prioritized for this phase of the campaign as all confirmed cases to date are in this division, and the focus remains on containing the current outbreak. A batch of 200,000 vaccines received last weekend will be targeted for Central Division for the reasons detailed above.  The other divisions will be targeted once more vaccine supplies, which are currently on order, are received.

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.

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Measles information

Transmission

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.

Symptoms

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.

Treatment

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.

Complications

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.

Prevention

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.


Media Release no 10. Measles – 29th Nov 2019

Since the last update on November 27th 2019 there are now 14 confirmed cases of measles. The latest confirmed case is a 36 year old from Makosoi, Deuba in Serua/Namosi.

As highlighted in previous advisories, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services is strongly advising against non-essential travel to Serua/Namosi. This includes, but is not limited to, the areas of Wainadoi, Nabukavesi, Namosi, Navua, and Deuba.

Measles is very contagious. To help stop the spread of the disease, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services also advises Fijians in the strongest possible terms, to take the following precautions:

• Avoid non-essential travel to Serua/Namosi. The Ministry of Health continues to hear about residents of Serua/Namosi planning for gatherings that will bring people from across the country and overseas. We advise in the strongest terms that until outbreak precautions are ceased in Serua/Namosi, all such gatherings should be deferred. This includes private celebrations such as weddings and family gatherings. If you need to travel to Serua/Namosi, please get vaccinated against measles at least two weeks before travel. Please avoid taking those that cannot get vaccinated (e.g. babies under the age of 6 months and pregnant women) to the outbreak area of Serua/Namosi.
• Avoid holding or attending large gatherings of people, especially in Central Division, but also those that bring participants from across the country or overseas (such as youth camps, religious gatherings, graduation ceremonies, sporting events, etc). Measles can spread very easily among large groups of people if they are not immune, who can then take the disease back into their communities.
• If you are holding an event with international visitors, or participants from an outbreak area, please strongly encourage them to get vaccinated against measles at least two (2) weeks before travel. This especially applies to visitors traveling from other countries with measles outbreaks i.e. New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga.

As mentioned in the past, the measles vaccine is currently in limited supply and therefore will be prioritized to those who are at the greatest risk of catching and spreading measles. This current restriction will change after new vaccine stock arrives later this week – when it will be made available to targeted groups published in the measles advisory.

Currently the free vaccine is only available to:

• Children as per the routine national immunization schedule (at 12 months and 18 months of age). This includes children who have not received those 2 doses of the vaccine as scheduled.

• The residents of Serua/Namosi

Contacts of a measles case will also continue to be vaccinated as determined by the respective outbreak response team.

The only exceptions to those in the above groups are pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, and those with a known allergy to the vaccine. These people should not be vaccinated


Media release 9: Measles – 27th Nov 2019

Since the last update on November 22nd 2019 there are now 13 confirmed cases of measles. The latest confirmed cases are a 22 year old from Wailali Settlement and a 16 year old from Navunikabi, both in the Serua/Namosi Subdivision. The third case is a 1-year-old child from Vatuwaqa Suva, who was admitted at CWM Hospital but has since been discharged home.

A 25-year-old pregnant woman, who was mentioned as a confirmed case in the last update, has also been discharged home from isolation at CWM Hospital. Currently there are no confirmed measles patients admitted in hospital, but this can change and the following restrictions at CWM are now in place:

The new visiting hour is 2.00pm to 3.00pm from Monday to Sunday.
Only one visitor will be allowed for each patient during the stated visiting hour.
Restrictions to visiting the intensive care unit for children and adults, and the designated Measles Isolation wards will be in place.
Triage sites are set up to assess and treat children, adults and pregnant mothers.

To date all but 2 of the confirmed cases are from, or are linked to, the Serua/Namosi Subdivision. And all the confirmed cases are in the Central Division.

Suspected cases continue to be reported, tested, and cleared when their results are confirmed negative by the National Public Health Laboratory. This includes an 11-year-old student of the Fiji School for the Blind, a suspected case who tested negative and was cleared, and a 1-year-old Kiribati national who also tested negative and was cleared.

The respective Sub-divisional Outbreak Response Teams continue to rapidly respond to notification of all cases and will not wait for a case to be confirmed by laboratory testing before launching the necessary interventions to prevent spread of the disease. The response includes isolation of the case, quarantine and vaccination of contacts and at-risk communities, as appropriate.

As mentioned in the past, the measles vaccine is now in limited supply and therefore will be prioritized to those who are at the greatest risk of catching and spreading measles. Currently the free vaccine is only available to:

• Children as per the routine national immunization schedule (at 12 months and 18 months of age). This includes children who have not received those 2 doses of the vaccine as scheduled.

• The residents of Serua/Namosi

Contacts of a measles case will also continue to be vaccinated as determined by the respective outbreak response team.

The only exceptions to those in the above groups are pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, and those with a known allergy to the vaccine. These people should not be vaccinated

This current restriction will change after new vaccine stock arrives later this week – when it will be made available to further targeted groups identified by the Measles Taskforce. More information on these groups will be released shortly in an advisory.


Measles Media release No: 8 – 22nd Nov 2019

Since the last update on November 20th 2019 there are now 10 confirmed cases of measles. The latest confirmed case is a 25-year-old pregnant woman from Samabula. The woman presented to the CWM Hospital on 21 November 2019 and is currently admitted under isolation. The Suva Subdivisional Outbreak Response Team has responded to the notification of this new case through the tracing of contacts, with vaccination, and quarantine if needed.

The 2-year-old confirmed case mentioned in the previous update (Media release 7: Measles 20/11/2019) has since been discharged home from the CWM Hospital. The Serua/Namosi Subdivisional Outbreak Response Team has vaccinated 100% of the residents of Waibogi Village in Serua since notification of this case on November 20th 2019.

A 11-year-old student of the Fiji School for the Blind is currently a suspected case and is isolated at the school awaiting test results. Students and staff at the school were vaccinated and quarantined on November 21st before being cleared by the Suva outbreak response team.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services would like to acknowledge the response of the public in presenting to our health facilities for the measles vaccine.

As mentioned in the past, the measles vaccine is in limited supply and therefore the Ministry of Health and Medical Services would like to inform the public that there is an interim shortage of the measles vaccine. For this reason, the remaining measles vaccine stock will be prioritised to those who are at the greatest risk of catching and spreading measles and it is not available for the general public until additional stocks arrive in the coming days.

Current stocks are being reserved for the following high-risk target groups:

1. The residents of Serua/Namosi
2. Children from the ages of 6 months to 3 years
3. People travelling overseas, however proof of travel must be shown i.e. ticket/travel itinerary, not just a passport

The routine immunisation of children at 12 and 18 months of age will continue as per the national immunisation schedule.

The only exceptions to those in the above groups are pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, and those with a known allergy to the vaccine. These people should not be vaccinated


Media Release 7 : Measles – 20th Nov 2019

Since the last update on November 19th 2019 there are now 9 confirmed cases of measles from Serua/Namosi Subdivision. The latest confirmed cases are a 15 year old from Wainadoi, and a 2 year old who had been staying in Waibogi Serua. The 2 year old returned home to Koronivia on November 18th and is currently admitted under isolation at the CWM Hospital in Suva after presenting to Nakasi Health Centre on November 19th. The respective outbreak response teams are responding to the notification of the new cases, which includes vaccination and quarantine of contacts if needed.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services is urging employers to provide their support to the control of this outbreak by not penalizing employees that are placed under quarantine and subsequently are unable to work. Quarantine is needed to protect others from getting the disease, and employees must be allowed to comply with quarantine without fear for loss of income or employment. Those under quarantine will be provided with the appropriate medical certification for the quarantine period.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services would also like to acknowledge the response of the public in presenting to our health facilities for the measles vaccine and we recognize the dedication of the doctors, nurses, environmental health officers, and others who have been working hard to contain the outbreak in Serua/Namosi.

As mentioned in the past, the measles vaccine is in limited supply and therefore the Ministry of Health and Medical Services would like to inform the public that there is an interim shortage of the measles vaccine. For this reason, the remaining measles vaccine stock will be prioritised to those who are at the greatest risk of catching and spreading measles and it is not available for the general public until additional stocks arrive in the coming days.

Current stocks are being reserved for the following high-risk target groups:

1. The residents of Serua/Namosi
2. Children from the ages of 6 months to 3 years
3. People travelling overseas, however proof of travel must be shown i.e. ticket/travel itinerary, not just a passport

The routine immunisation of children at 12 and 18 months of age will continue as per the national immunisation schedule.

The only exceptions to those in the above groups are pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, and those with a known allergy to the vaccine. These people should not be vaccinated


Measles Media Release no. 6 – 19th Nov 2019

Since the last update on November 15th 2019 there are now 7 confirmed cases of measles from Serua/Namosi Subdivision.

The latest confirmed cases are a 7 month old from Wainadoi, a 3 month old from Wainadoi, and a 19 year old from Navunikabi in Namosi. There are 2 more suspected cases in Navunikabi Namosi. The 7 month old and 3 month old babies are currently admitted under isolation at Navua hospital. The Serua/Namosi Outbreak Response Team has implemented response measures – including isolation of the cases, quarantine and vaccination of contacts and at risk communities.

On the evening of Sunday November 17th the Ministry of Health and Medical Services was notified of a suspected case of measles within the Tongan team that had just arrived to play in the Oceania Women’s Championship. In response, the suspected case has been isolated and the Tongan team placed under quarantine – their scheduled games have been cancelled pending testing results.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services wishes to re-emphasize that, to control this outbreak, it is important that we protect those at the highest risk of catching and spreading the disease first. Current vaccination stocks are not unlimited and should be used for our most vulnerable groups who are most likely to catch and spread the disease. This will help protect everyone else, especially those that cannot get the vaccine – like babies under the age of 6 months. Replacement vaccine stocks are on their way to cover more people. In the meantime the public is asked for patience and to allow high-risk groups to be vaccinated first.

The free measles vaccine is currently limited to 4 groups who are at most at risk of contracting measles, and these are:
1. Any child in Fiji who has not received 2 doses of measles vaccine. If you’re unsure visit your nearest health centre with your child’s health record for it to be checked by a health care worker. They will be immunised on the spot if needed.
2. Anyone who resides in Serua/Namosi and is over 6 months of age is urgently advised to receive a dose of the measles vaccine regardless of prior vaccination status if they have not done so already.
3. Anyone who intends on travelling into Serua/Namosi is urged to get vaccinated at least 2 weeks before travel. The vaccine is available from any health centre in Fiji.
4. Anyone who intends to travel overseas and is over 6 months of age is advised to get a measles vaccine prior to travel from their nearest health centre.
The only exceptions to those in the above groups are pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, and those with a known allergy to the vaccine. These people should not be vaccinated.


MEDIA RELEASE 5: MEASLES – 17th Nov 2019

National Update

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services is pleased to see the positive support from the members of the public in their proactive efforts to contain the measles outbreak in Serua/Namosi by presenting for immunisation and reporting symptoms. The measles outbreak is still confined to the Serua/Namosi Subdivision, and specifically the Wailali Settlement in Wainadoi.

As the response by the public has been so positive the Ministry of Health and Medical Services would like to highlight the measles vaccine is currently limited to 4 groups who are at most at risk of contracting measles, and these are;

1. Any child in Fiji who has not received 2 doses of measles vaccine. If you’re unsure visit your nearest health centre with your child’s health record for it to be checked by a health care worker. They will be immunised on the spot if needed.

2. Anyone who resides in Serua/Namosi and is over 6 months of age is urgently advised to receive a dose of the measles vaccine regardless of prior vaccination status if they have not done so already.

3. Anyone who intends on travelling into Serua/Namosi is urged to get vaccinated at least 2 weeks before travel. The vaccine is available from any health centre in Fiji.

4. Anyone who intends to travel overseas and is over 6 months of age is advised to get a measles vaccine prior to travel from their nearest health centre.

The only exceptions to those in the above groups are pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, and those with a known allergy to the vaccine. These people should not be vaccinated.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services main priority is to protect those at the highest risk first. The Ministry would like to emphasise that current vaccination stocks are not unlimited and should be used for our most vulnerable groups who are most likely to catch and spread the disease.
Since the last update there have been zero confirmed new cases of measles from Serua/Namosi or anywhere else in Fiji. There are currently 4 confirmed cases – all from the Wailali Settlement in Wainadoi.

The Measles Taskforce is constantly reviewing the situation and will make recommendations to vaccinate other groups as necessary. The taskforce consists of experts from across Ministry of Health and Medical Services and international experts – including the World Health Organisation.


Media Release 4 : measles – 11th Nov 2019

Serua/Namosi update:

To date the measles outbreak is confined to the Serua/Namosi Subdivision, and specifically the Wailali Settement in Wainadoi. A Measles Taskforce has been convened by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services to coordinate the response to the outbreak and assist the respective divisional and subdivisional teams.

Since the last update on 7th November there has been zero new cases – one of the suspected cases from the 7th November update was subsequently confirmed to have measles after lab testing.

There are three confirmed cases and one suspected case reported from Wailali Settlement in Wainadoi. The three confirmed cases are a four-month-old baby and two adults between the ages of twenty and twenty-five. The four month old baby continues to be admitted in a stable condition, in isolation, at Navua hospital, and the Serua/Namosi Subdivisional Outbreak Response Team are conducting daily monitoring of the two adults, who are recovering well in home quarantine. The six-year-old suspected case has since recovered.

According to Head of Health Protection at the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Dr Aalisha Sahukhan: “All the cases are linked and investigations are continuing into any potential exposures they may have had to international travellers. At this point the Serua/Namosi Subdivisional Outbreak Response Team are working hard to control the outbreak within their subdivision. And they have the full support of the rest of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services”

The Serua/Namosi Subdivisional Outbreak Response Team (SORT) recently completed annual refresher training in outbreak response conducted by the Ministry’s Fiji Centre for Communicable Disease Control (Fiji CDC). And in response to the outbreak in their subdivision the team have implemented their measles action plan.

Some of the actions of the subdivisional team:

• Activated the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) at Navua Hospital.
• Established triage and isolation areas in Navua hospital for any potential suspected cases of measles. All suspected cases are being managed according to guidance issued by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.
• Vaccinated over three hundred people in Wailali and surrounding communities. Teams are deployed daily to vaccinate anyone aged six months and over in the outbreak area. Pregnant women, the immunocompromised, and those with a known allergy to the vaccine will not be vaccinated.
• The subdivisional team are also onsite at the Uprising Music Festival this weekend to raise awareness on measles and provide vaccination for festival goers

For residents of Serua/Namosi:

Measles vaccine is available to anyone living in Serua/Namosi aged six months and over. Pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, and those with a known allergy to the vaccine will not be vaccinated.

Please contact the Subdivisional Medical Officer Serua/Namosi if you 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.

To contact the Subdivisional Medical Officer Serua/Namosi, phone: 8919356 or 9493213.

For the rest of Fiji:

Vaccination

Vaccination against measles is currently available for free at your nearest health centre for the two groups listed below. Vaccines are not available at the emergency departments of the CWM, Lautoka, or Labasa hospitals. Please do not come to these emergency departments for vaccination.

1. Children: The Ministry of Health and Medical Services provides measles vaccine free to children. Since 2003, all children in Fiji are offered two doses of the combination measles-rubella vaccine- starting from twelve (12) months of age. The Ministry also conducted a supplemental measles immunization 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 five, and the school health card for school aged children.

If your child has not received two doses of the measles vaccine, or you are not sure, please visit your nearest health centre.

2. Those travelling overseas or to outbreak areas: 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 weeks before travel (it can take up to two weeks for the vaccine to take effect).

Babies aged between six months and twelve 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, the immunocompromised, and those with a known allergy to the vaccine will 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.


Media release 3: Measles – 8th 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 are to please contact the Subdivisional Medical Officer using the phone numbers below – 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.

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.

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.


Media Release Measles alert – 25th Oct 2019

The Fiji Ministry of Health and Medical Services is closely monitoring the outbreaks of measles in the region: first the ongoing New Zealand outbreak followed by recent outbreaks declared for Samoa and Tonga.

Because we have an effective immunization program, measles is rare in Fiji. However, outbreaks around the world, including in neighboring countries, puts us at risk of having travel related cases of measles.

In response to the outbreaks in the region, the Ministry has taken the following actions to prevent and respond to potential cases in Fiji:

1. Made the measles vaccine available for free to Fijians travelling overseas:- the public was advised in August that anyone travelling overseas should get vaccinated if they have not been vaccinated, or are unsure of their vaccination status. Free vaccine is available at your nearest health centre for those aged 12 months and above who are travelling overseas. Babies aged between 6 months and 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. You should get vaccinated at least two weeks in advance of travel. Pregnant women should not be vaccinated.
2. The Ministry will soon offer free measles vaccine to people that are at higher risk of exposure to those infected with measles. This includes airport and airline workers, hotel workers, and healthcare workers. Extra effort is also being put into vaccinating children who have missed out on their scheduled measles vaccine.
3. Awareness is being raised amongst health staff to be alert for measles cases. And training has already commenced on response.
4. The National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL) at the Ministry’s Fiji Centre for Communicable Disease Control is WHO accredited for measles testing and work will continue on strengthening the existing system of surveillance for cases.

We urge all Fijians to help the Ministry in preventing measles coming to Fiji. Please ensure your children receive their vaccinations according to Fiji’s immunisation schedule. And ensure you are vaccinated before traveling overseas, especially to New Zealand, Samoa, or Tonga.

-ENDS-