The Fiji Ministry of Health and Medical Services has confirmed 18 cases of measles in the Central division as of Saturday, December 7. Cases are being reported in the Serua/Namosi subdivision, Suva, and Rewa areas. A vaccination campaign is ongoing in Central division, with over 45,000 people being immunized between Thursday, December 5, and Friday, December 6. In order to prevent further spread of the disease, Fijian officials have asked for all sporting competitions to be postponed to January 2020.
Further spread of the disease is possible over the coming weeks.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that typically affects mostly children. It is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth, or throat of infected persons. Symptoms of measles are usually a high fever, which begins approximately ten to 12 days after exposure to the virus and lasts four to seven days. A runny nose, a cough, red and watery eyes, and small white spots inside the cheeks can develop in the initial stage. After several days, a rash erupts, usually on the face and upper neck. Over the course of about three days, the rash spreads, eventually reaching the hands and feet. The rash lasts for five to six days and then fades. On average, the rash occurs 14 days after exposure to the virus (within a range of seven to 18 days). A vaccine is available.
Individuals in Fiji are advised to ensure their measles vaccination is up to date (including booster shots) and to contact their doctor with any questions or concerns. Anyone experiencing the above symptoms is urged to seek immediate medical attention.