Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete says people who have not taken two measles shots while growing up need to go to a health facility to get those immunization shots, especially if you were or are in the Navua, Serua and Namosi area where a measles outbreak has been declared.
Doctor Waqainabete says anyone travelling out of the country should also visit a health facility to check if they need to get immunized.
The Health Minister says people should generally be fine if they have taken the two measles immunization shots.
He also says that they have also taken preventative measures and given measles shots to health staff working in Navua to ensure that they do not spread the virus to people going to the hospital.
Doctor Waqainabete says they are confident to contain this situation in Navua, Serua and Namosi as Fiji has a robust vaccination program. He also says that the onus is on everyone to ensure that this is contained.
The Ministry of Health declared an outbreak of measles for the Serua and Namosi Subdivision last night.
They have recorded two confirmed cases and two suspected cases from Wailali Settlement in Wainadoi.
The Ministry says three of the patients are recovering at home and one is currently admitted in hospital.
It says anyone who was in Navua Hospital on Tuesday evening or in the Children’s Clinic on Wednesday morning this week is requested to contact the Subdivisional Medical Officer on 8919356 or 9493213.
The Serua and Namosi Subdivisional Outbreak Response Team has activated their measles response plan which includes isolating cases, tracing and vaccinating those that had contact with the people confirmed to have measles.
The Ministry is urging people to ensure children have received at least two doses of the measles vaccine according to the Fiji immunization schedule.
The Ministry says if they have not received these two doses, please visit the nearest health centre.
It says people intending to travel to Serua and Namosi should get vaccinated against measles at least two weeks before travel.
Free vaccine is available at the nearest health centre for those aged 12 months and above who are travelling overseas or to an outbreak area.
Babies aged between six and twelve months can also get vaccinated if they are travelling to an area with an ongoing outbreak of measles but they still need to receive their next scheduled measles vaccines as per the Fiji immunisation schedule.
The Ministry has stressed that pregnant women should not be vaccinated.
The symptoms of measles are fever and a rash with a runny nose, sneezing, cough, red and watery eyes and white spots inside the mouth.
The rash starts after the other symptoms and spreads all over the body.
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 if you have not been vaccinated, or you have never had the disease.
There is no specific treatment for measles, as it is the body’s immune system that fights off the disease.
Most people recover from measles infection in 8 to 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 or encephalitis (brain swelling).
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