Measles outbreak for Serua/Namosi declared over
The Serua/Namosi measles outbreak declared on November 7th 2019 is now at an end. A total of 12 cases of measles were reported from Serua/Namosi during the outbreak. No new cases have been reported since the end of November, and more than 42 days (two incubation periods) have passed since the last case. The outbreak in Serua/Namosi was brought to an end in less than a month from the time it was declared through the massive response efforts of the Serua/Namosi Sub-divisional Health Team, which included the vaccination of 96% of the subdivision’s population. The people of Serua/Namosi are also to be commended for heeding the Ministry’s advice and coming forward to be vaccinated.
The measles outbreak remains ongoing for the rest of Central Division. However, weekly reported cases have decreased and there have been no new cases reported since the last update on January 9th. The respective sub-divisional outbreak response teams will continue to respond to new cases as they arise.
The case count remains at 28, and all cases are from the following areas in the Central Division:
- 12 cases from the Serua/Namosi Subdivision (Wailali, Wainadoi, Navunikabi, and Makosoi Deuba)
- 9 cases from Suva Subdivision (Toorak, Nabua, Samabula, Vatuwaqa, Sakoca in Tacirua, Wailekutu and Naikorokoro Village in Lami).
- 3 cases from Rewa Subdivision (Koronivia, Nasilai Village Nakelo, Davuilevu).
- 4 cases from Naitasiri Subdivision (Saumakia Village)
The 3-month-old baby reported in previous updates has now been discharged home from CWM Hospital. All cases to date have recovered, and there are no measles patients currently admitted in hospital. There have been no deaths.
The public are urged to continue to take the following precautions:
- If you or a loved one are in a measles vaccination target group and have not been vaccinated during this campaign please do get vaccinated now.
- Avoid non-essential travel to the outbreak areas of Sakoca in Tacirua, Naikorokoro Village in Lami, Saumakia Village in Naitasiri, Nasilai Village in Nakelo.
- If you are holding an event or gathering with international visitors, or participants from an outbreak area, please strongly encourage them to get vaccinated against measles at least two weeks before travel. This especially applies to visitors traveling from other countries with measles outbreaks i.e. New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, American Samoa, Kiribati, and Papua New Guinea.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.