measles

Tongan government primary schools closed to contain measles outbreak

The closure is to further contain the outbreak of measles, which is more likely to happen when children are gathering together in large numbers, as in schools.

The primary schools will resume from 25 November to enable them to provide students’ academic reports and conduct their prize giving ceremonies.

A statement said the closure date can be extended pending advice from Ministry of Health.

Small Pacific states brace for measles spread

As the Pacific grapples with a deadly measles outbreak originating in New Zealand, some of the region's smallest states are seeing their health systems put under increasing strain before the disease even reaches their shores.

Already, measles has spread to Fiji, Tonga and Samoa.

Health authorities in Samoa say they have registered seven deaths suspected to have been caused by the measles virus.

Now, there are fears its spread to other countries in the region could be only a matter of time.

Concern for New Caledonia after Tonga futsal player gets measles

Meanwhile, authorities in New Caledonia are on alert after a member of the Tongan futsal team was found to have the highly infectious virus.

Tonga's health ministry says three people have been hospitalised by the outbreak, which was brought into the country by a rugby team who had played at a tournament in Auckland.

The ministry's chief executive, Siale 'Akauola, says the outbreak there appears to have peaked, and they're confident that it can still be managed.

Concern for New Caledonia after Tonga futsal player gets measles

Meanwhile, authorities in New Caledonia are on alert after a member of the Tongan futsal team was found to have the highly infectious virus.

Tonga's health ministry says three people have been hospitalised by the outbreak, which was brought into the country by a rugby team who had played at a tournament in Auckland.

The ministry's chief executive, Siale 'Akauola, says the outbreak there appears to have peaked, and they're confident that it can still be managed.

NZ to assist Tonga countries with measles response

The associate health minister, Julie Anne Genter, said New Zealand has offered advice and assistance and stands ready to help in any way.

"I understand Samoa is working through its response and authorities have requested that any support from New Zealand, waits until Samoa's needs are more clear," Ms Genter said.

Epidemics were declared in Samoa and Tonga this week, and both were spread from New Zealand, where an outbreak in Auckland has affected nearly 2000 people.

Fiji offers free measles vaccines

Fiji's Health Ministry said it was closely monitoring the outbreak, which has already moved to Samoa and Tonga.

The ministry is also rolling out training for health workers and urging the public to ensure children are vaccinated before going overseas, especially to New Zealand, Samoa, or Tonga.

"Outbreaks around the world, including in neighboring countries, puts us at risk of having travel related cases of measles," the ministry said in a statement Friday.

Measles resurgence 'due to vaccine hesitancy', WHO warns

The World Health Organization data shows a rise in cases in almost every region of the world, with 30% more cases in 2017 than 2016.

Experts say complacency, collapsing health systems and a rise in fake news about the vaccine are behind the rise.

They say the measles vaccines can save millions of lives.

Measles is a highly contagious disease that in severe cases can lead to complications such as blindness, pneumonia and infection and swelling of the brain.

Deadly measles complication is more common than thought, study says

Researchers figured this out by looking at records of people who had a neurological disease called subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, or SSPE, in California between 1998 and 2016. The research was presented at IDWeek, an infectious-disease conference, in October.

SSPE is a neurological complication from measles in which, essentially, the body has an abnormal immune response to the virus.