Editorial comment – Measles warning

A staff nurse draws vaccine during a vaccination drive at Wailali settlement in Wainadoi between Suva and Navua. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA/FILE

THE revelation that there are now 14 confirmed cases of measles in the country is not a good sign. We seem to be seeing a slow rise in figures.

The latest case, we are told, involves a 36-year-old from Makosoi, Deuba.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services said the case was in the Serua-Namosi area and it has once again strongly advised against non-essential travel to the district, particularly to Wainadoi, Nabukavesi, Namosi, Navua and Deuba.

There is when we must show some sense of responsibility.

Together we must be part of the campaign to contain the measles outbreak.

To do that means listening to advice.

That means cutting out all unnecessary travel to the listed danger zones.

We have been warned many times.

Clearly, it seems, some of us are shrugging aside safety, discarding concern for our own welfare and wellbeing, and exposing ourselves to the disease.

We must avoid holding or attending large gatherings of people, especially in the Central Division, the ministry stated.

“We advise in the strongest terms that until outbreak precautions are ceased in Serua-Namosi, all such gatherings should be deferred,” it stated.

“This includes private celebrations such as weddings and family gatherings.”

It shows the level of concern at the ministry

To understand the seriousness with which we must embrace this, New Zealand health officials have confirmed that passengers on an Air New Zealand flight from Nadi to Auckland last Friday with measles like symptoms have been isolated.

Dr Maria Poynter, Medical Officer of Health at Auckland’s Regional Public Health Service, said passengers would be in isolation until they were “no longer infectious”.

“As for the fellow passengers who were exposed, we have issued a media release alerting them to this exposure and asking them to check their immunity.”

It should be a reminder for us about how infectious this disease is. It will be in our best interest to contain it in the danger zones, and get people immunised. In a sense, the world has grown smaller. Air travel means such diseases are able to spread quickly around the globe

. It places emphasis on points of entry into our country, how we prepare ourselves, our preventative health plans, and responses to such emergencies.

There must be emphasis also on how well we embrace advice, and how we react to public warnings.

Understandably there is a tendency for us to organise family gatherings during this festive season.

Let’s be mindful of the State warnings though. Getting measles certainly isn’t a pleasant experience.

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