September 19, 2020

Measles Media Release no. 23

Last Updated on 7 months by

Fiji’s last locally transmitted case of measles was on January 6th 2020 – bringing to a total of 28 cases for the outbreak that began on November 7th 2019. And now we are alerting the public about a single travel related case of measles from the Philippines:

A 35-year-old female travelled from the Philippines arriving into Nadi Airport on FJ360 via Singapore on 9th of February 2020. She was well during health screening at Nadi airport but developed symptoms of measles the day after arrival. The patient later tested positive for measles. Based on the onset of her symptoms, and with the knowledge that the Philippines has an ongoing outbreak of measles, it is clear that she became infected with measles in the Philippines and not in Fiji. The patient and her family (husband and child who have no symptoms) have been placed on home isolation in Suva. Daily follow up for the family and contact tracing are currently underway by our health team, though family members had already been vaccinated.

Our team is also contacting passengers on flight FJ360.

The flight details:

FJ360 from Singapore to Nadi (arrival in Nadi airport at 11.34 am on February 9th)

Passengers on this flight, and anyone in the Nadi Airport arrivals 11.34am  to 1.34pm on Sunday February 9th, should watch for symptoms of measles.

While infectious, the patient was also at the following locations:

10/2/2020: Tappoo City and MHCC

11/2/2020: Cost U Less and Damodar City

The above locations do not pose an ongoing risk beyond the specific dates they were visited by the confirmed case.

People who were at these locations at the noted times should look out for symptoms of measles until 29th of February. It can take up to 18 days for symptoms to appear following exposure to a person with measles.

In Summary:

–          1 new travel related case of measles from the Philippines

–          Passengers on flight FJ360 from Singapore-Nadi arriving on Sunday February 9th to be on alert

–          As a result of the recent mass vaccination campaign in response to the outbreak that began November 7th 2019, measles vaccination coverage is >95% for 6mth-5 year olds and 19-39 year olds in Fiji

–          Herd immunity for Fiji is expected to be optimal because of the national campaign, however public should remain on alert and call if you have symptoms

–          With global outbreaks of measles people travelling internationally are reminded to ensure they are vaccinated before leaving Fiji

 

Symptoms include:

Fever, runny nose, cough, sore and red eyes. A rash starts a few days after these symptoms and spreads all over the body.

If you were on FJ360 from Singapore to Nadi on February 9th, or in one of the locations listed on those specific dates please call:

Central Division:2219905

Eastern Division:2219906

Western Division:2219907

Northern Division:2219908

If you do develop symptoms, please contact one of the above numbers immediately and avoid public areas.

The national measles vaccination coverage after the mass vaccination campaign in 2019 stands at over 95% for the targeted groups of children (6 months to 5 years) and young adults (19 to 39 years), with over 459,000 people in Fiji receiving one dose of the measles vaccine. Given this high coverage we expect that herd immunity in Fiji is sufficient to prevent more cases arising from this travel-related imported case of measles – but we are on alert and urging the public to call the Ministry on the advertised numbers should you develop symptoms.

All international travelers are urged to ensure they are up to date with their measles vaccinations. If you are planning international travel and have not been vaccinated, or are unsure of your vaccination status, measles vaccine is available free of charge at your nearest Ministry of Health and Medical Services health centre.

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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.