Health Minister, Dr. Ifereimi Waqainabete confirms that the two new cases of measles, a 13-year-old child from Nasilai Village in Nakelo, Rewa and 27-year old woman from Saumakia Village in Naitasiri were directly in contact with those people who were earlier diagnosed with measles.
Dr. Waqainabete says the 13-year-old boy from Nasilai Village in Nakelo, Rewa is the son of a measles patient who is currently being treated.
The 27-year old woman from Saumakia Village in Naitasiri is the babysitter of the 9-month-old baby from Davuilevu who also has measles.
The Minister says everyone in Nasilai Village in Rewa and Saumakia in Naitasiri have been vaccinated however it takes about 4 to 10 days for the immunity to kick in.
Dr. Waqainabete is again advising all Fijians not to host any mass gatherings as per the Ministry's advisory.
The Minister is also urging all Fijians to go to their nearest health centre and get vaccinated.
Dr. Waqainabete says over 200,000 people have been vaccinated against measles since the outbreak was declared.
There are now 21 confirmed cases of measles in Fiji and Dr. Waqainabete says all patients are in stable condition and most have been treated and sent home.
The 21 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).
-4 cases from Rewa Subdivision (Koronivia, Nasilai Village Nakelo, Davuilevu).
-1 case from Naitasiri Subdivision (Saumakia Village)
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.
The Head of Health Protection at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Aalisha Sahukhan says the Measles Vaccination Campaign begun in the Western and Eastern Divisions yesterday.
Sahukhan says the vaccination campaign in the North will begin next Monday.
The Ministry of Health teams is also going to settlements to immunise people in the target groups.
Vaccination booths will be open from 9 am to 6 pm Monday to Friday and 9 am to 3 pm on Saturday and Sunday in all locations in the West.
The national campaign will continue to target people who are most at risk of being infected by measles and spreading the disease.
Sahukhan adds that pregnant women, babies under the age of 6 months, those with a compromised immune system and those with a known allergy to the vaccine should not be vaccinated.
She says people aged 40 and over will not be vaccinated as they are likely to have had measles as a child and therefore have life-long immunity.
The campaign will continue in the Central Division and the Ministry is aiming to vaccinate all the target groups by Christmas.
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