Mass gatherings ban on Fiji due to measles lifted

Source: Xinhua| 2020-01-10 13:44:28|Editor: yhy
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SUVA, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- The Ministry of Health in Fiji has lifted the mass gatherings advisory that has been in place due to the measles outbreak in November last year.

According to the National Measles Taskforce, since the outbreak was declared on Nov. 7 last year, around 459,000 people have been immunized in Fiji.

There are now 28 confirmed cases of measles in Fiji.

According to Fijivillage news website on Friday, the Health Ministry has advised the public to continue to take precautions.

They said if people or their loved ones are in a measles vaccination target group and have not been vaccinated during this campaign, they should get vaccinated now.

The Health Ministry said people should avoid non-essential travel to the outbreak areas of Naitasiri, Tailevu and Serua/Namosi provinces on the main island of Viti Levu.

It further said that if people are holding an event or gathering with international visitors or participants from an outbreak area, they 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 including New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati and Papua New Guinea.

The Ministry said while new cases continue to be reported, the numbers per week has decreased.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services is also in discussion with the Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts to have measles vaccine available on-campus for unvaccinated students returning for the academic year at tertiary institutions.

Since 2003, all children in Fiji are offered two (2) doses of the combination measles-rubella vaccine - starting from 12 months of age. Fiji's immunization coverage for children is good, and the Ministry also conducted a supplemental campaign in 2017 for all one to ten-year olds.

Because Fiji has an effective immunization program, measles is rare in Fiji. However, outbreaks around the world, including in neighboring countries, still puts Fiji at risk of having cases of measles.

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.