There are now 14 confirmed cases of measles in Fiji with the latest confirmed case being a 36-year-old from Makosoi, Deuba in the Serua/Namosi subdivision.
The Health Ministry 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.
The Health Ministry says it continues to hear about residents of Serua/Namosi planning for gatherings that will bring people from across the country and overseas.
They are advised 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.
They say if people 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 such as babies under the age of 6 months and pregnant women to the outbreak area of Serua/Namosi.
The Health Ministry is also advising people to avoid holding or attending large gatherings of people, especially in the Central Division especially those that bring participants from across the country or overseas such as youth camps, religious gatherings, graduation ceremonies, and sporting events.
It stresses that 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.
The Health Ministry says if people 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 weeks before travel.
This especially applies to visitors traveling from other countries with measles outbreaks such as New Zealand, Samoa, and Tonga.
It says 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.
The Health Ministry says 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.
200,000 vaccines will arrive in the country this weekend.
Please be aware of the symptoms of measles:
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.
If you develop the symptoms listed above please call one of the following numbers. These numbers are only to be used for people who think they or a family member has the measles. If you need to see a doctor please call the facility before you arrive so they can ensure you do not infect other patients.
The Ministry of Health and Medical Services urges the public to take heed of our advice to protect yourselves and your families from measles.
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