Measles alert – Ministry initiates immediate containment response

A staff nurse prepares a dose of the measles vaccine. Picture: FILE

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services has identified six cases of measles.

The ministry is therefore advising individuals who present the signs and symptoms of measles to wear a mask, avoid contact with others and to visit their nearest health centre for immediate attention and treatment.

In a statement, the ministry said of the six detected cases, two were detected in Labasa, three in Rewa and one case in Nasinu.

The ministry said it had initiated an immediate containment response which included the management and isolation of confirmed cases, home quarantine of immediate family members and contact tracing. The ministry has also put in place a plan of action for the respective medical subdivisions.

“Measles is a highly infectious airborne viral disease that spreads easily through the air through breathing, coughing, and sneezing,” the ministry said.

“The signs and symptoms of measles are high fever which begins about 10 to 12 days after exposure to the virus lasting four to seven days, runny nose, cough, red and watery eyes, small white spots inside the cheeks in the initial stage.

“After several days a rash erupts usually on the face and upper neck, within three days it spreads reaching the hands and feet lasting for five to six days.

“After several days a rash erupts usually on the face and upper neck, within three days it spreads reaching the hands and feet lasting for five to six days.”

“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.”

The ministry said because of an effective immunisation program, measles is rare in Fiji, however, it was expected that routine childhood immunisation coverage had dropped because of the COVID-19 pandemic as it had in many other countries and this increased the risk of outbreaks.

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