Confirmed Measles Cases Tripled In Latest Epidemic Update

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  • MEASLES VACCINE : World Health Org. file photo of MMR vaccine
    MEASLES VACCINE : World Health Org. file photo of MMR vaccine

Staff Writer

Confirmed cases of the measles based on lab test results have tripled to 48 in the latest official report since the outbreak of the highly contagious disease now onto its fourth week.

The Ministry of Health ‘Measles Epidemic prior report on 30 October 2019, had 15 confirmed cases.

The Ministry released the updated report #5 yesterday that also showed the number of suspected cases is close to double from just over 300 previously recorded to 513.

“To date, there has been three measles-related mortality; a 14-month old an 8-month old; and a 37-year old, all highly suspected measles and all awaiting laboratory confirmation,” the report indicated.

Epidemic Report #5 also confirmed the following statistics:

  • Of the 513 suspected cases, 62% are children less than 5 years of age; 10% age 5-14 years; 15% age 15-24 years; 7% age 25-35 years; 6% age 35 and above and 1% age not recorded.
  • 83% (370) of suspected cases reside in Upolu and 15% (73) in Savaii;
  • 38% (195) of the 513 suspected cases have been admitted to hospital;
  • 76% (149) of all admissions are below 5 years old.

The measles vaccination is available at all Health Facilities including:

  • The Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital (TTMH) on Upolu. The Immunisation clinic is located at the TTMH Emergency Department.
  • The Malietoa Tanumafili II Hospital (MTIIH) on Savaii. The Immunisation clinic is located at the MTIIH emergency department.
  • A new Immunisation clinic is open at Matagialalua at the waterfront, Eleele Fou, Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm.

Please be advised that it can take up to two weeks for the vaccination to become fully effective so it is important that the usual prevention measures are taken for up to two weeks after you have been vaccinated.

It is important not to panic but to seek medical advice if you or any member of your family’s condition worsens. 

The Ministry of Health urges people, particularly of the following high risk categories, to get vaccinated if they are not Up To Date with their immunisations:

  • 6 months – 10 years and
  • 11 - 25  years

Please note that not all people need to be vaccinated.

Some of the people who should not be vaccinated with the current measles vaccine includes; infants less than 6 months of age, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems and people with a history of allergic reaction to the vaccine.

Please be advised that it can take up to two weeks for the vaccination to become fully effective so it is important that the usual prevention measures are taken for up to two weeks after you have been vaccinated.

The Ministry of Health continues to advise the public to take preventative measures to protect themselves and their families from contracting measles.

1. Avoid crowded living environments and, to refrain from being in places where there a lot of people or large gatherings.

2. To minimise any spread of germs by covering your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing or, wear a mask.

3. Keep children at home if they are not well.

4. Stay home and away from public areas if you are not well.

5. Ensure that children’s vaccination and immunization status is kept up to date.

6. Ensure that children 6 months and above are vaccinated, if they have not been vaccinated.

7. Keep hydrated by drinking lots of fluid.

8. Do not share bedding, clothing or drinks etc.

9. Ensure that you maintain good hand washing practices by washing your hands using soap and clean water several times throughout the day and, after coughing, sneezing or, caring for a sick person.

Prevention measures as mentioned above should be taken to minimise the risk of contracting measles and urgent medical advice be sought for anyone in this vulnerable group suspects that they have measles.

It is important not to panic but to seek medical advice if you or any member of your family’s condition worsens. 

For further information on measles, please contact your nearest health facility or, call Dr Robert Thomsen on telephone 66503/7676015 or, Tevaga Dr Ponifasio Ponifasio on telephone 66500 or, Dr Sarah Brown on telephone 66723 or a healthcare provider.

 

 

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