SUVA, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- Fiji's Ministry of Health said Friday that all social and village gatherings should be postponed as a measles outbreak that has affected 14 people is being addressed with the second phase of the measles immunization campaign beginning on Wednesday.
The ministry said in a statement that people should avoid holding or attending functions that bring participants from across the country or overseas such as youth camps, religious gatherings, graduation ceremonies and sporting events.
The ministry said that it continues to hear about residents of Serua/Namosi province on Viti Levu, the main island in Fiji, 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.
In Fiji, this is usually the time relatives plan weddings and other gatherings in the festive season.
There are now 14 confirmed cases of measles in Fiji with the latest confirmed being a 36-year-old from Makosoi, Deuba in the Serua/Namosi province.
The Health Ministry said if people need to travel to Serua/Namosi, they need to be vaccinated two weeks in advance.
Free vaccine is only available to children as per the routine national immunization schedule at 12 months and 18 months of age and this includes children who have not received those 2 doses of the vaccine as scheduled.
It will also be prioritized to those who are at the greatest risk of catching and spreading measles.
The current restriction will change after new stock of 200,000 measles vaccines are expected to arrive this weekend.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons. Death may occur in up to 5-10 percent of infected young children in developing countries.