The Ministry of Health and Medical Services has expanded the measles immunisation campaign across Fiji.
Since the outbreak was declared on Thursday 7 November 2019, around 200,000 people in Fiji have been immunised against measles.
The latest confirmed cases are a 13 year old from Nasilai Village in Nakelo Rewa, and a 27-year-old from Saumakia Village in Naitasiri.
Both new cases are contacts of previously confirmed measles cases in those villages.
The Rewa and Naitasiri outbreak response teams have carried out the necessary interventions including isolation of cases, quarantine and vaccination of contacts and at-risk communities as appropriate.
The 9-month-old child from Davuilevu in Rewa (who also stayed at Saumakia Settlement in Naitasiri), reported as a confirmed case in the last update is still admitted under isolation at CWM Hospital in a stable condition.
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 Saumakia Village in Naitasiri, Serua/Namosi, and Nasilai Village in Nakelo Rewa is strongly discouraged.
The national campaign will continue to target people who are most at risk of being infected by measles and spreading the disease.
Target groups are:
• All children aged 6 months to 5 years
• All people born between 1980 and 2000 (19 to 39-year-olds who should have ID available if asked)
• Any child in Fiji who has not received 2 doses of a measles vaccine according to the national immunisation schedule
• Any child in Fiji aged 12 and 18 months in Fiji who are due their routine measles immunisation according to the national immunisation schedule
• Any person in Fiji travelling overseas (evidence of travel must be provided i.e. a travel itinerary or ticket)
• All health care workers
• All airport and port-of-entry workers, and hotel staff
The only exceptions to those in the above groups are pregnant women, children under the age of 6 months, those with compromised immune systems (including those on immunosuppressive medication/treatment), and those with a known allergy to the vaccine. These people should not be vaccinated.
People aged 40 and over are not a target group. They are likely to have had measles as a child (before the vaccine was introduced) and therefore have life-long immunity.
The campaign will continue in Central Division and started in Western and Eastern Divisions on Friday 13 December. It will start in Northern Division on Monday 16 December.
People who got vaccinated in phase one of the campaign will not be vaccinated again in phase two.
The Ministry of Health and Medical Services wishes to acknowledge the assistance provided by UNICEF and the Australian and New Zealand Governments in securing vaccines for Fiji. And we also thank the World Health Organisation for their continuous technical support.
Measles is very contagious. To help stop the spread of the disease, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services also advises Fijians to take the following precautions:
• Avoid non-essential travel to Saumakia Village in Naitasiri, Serua/Namosi, and Nasilai Village in Nakelo. If you need to travel to these areas, please get vaccinated against measles at least two weeks before travel. Please avoid taking those that cannot get vaccinated (e.g. babies under the age of 6 months and pregnant women) to the outbreak areas.
• Avoid holding or attending large gatherings of people, especially in Central Division, but also those that bring participants from across the country or overseas (such as youth camps, religious gatherings, graduation ceremonies, sporting events, etc.). 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.
• If you 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 travelling from other countries with measles outbreaks i.e. New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga.