THE measles outbreak is taking its toll on the nation’s health service.
As of Tuesday, health authorities recorded more than 500 cases in Honiara, Guadalcanal, and Malaita.
Two children have already died as a result of measles related complications.
Measles is a highly contagious disease that spreads by coughing, spitting, sneezing and over-crowding.
So it’s not surprising that the disease could spread so easily and fast, especially in Honiara.
Here are some key facts on measles:
- If you have symptoms of measles (high fever, rash on face and body, runny nose, red eyes) visit your health clinic and keep away from others.
- If you or your child is aged 6 months to 30 years of age, go to a Honiara City Council health clinic for a free and safe measles vaccine. If your child received their first dose of the measles vaccine more than one month ago, take them to a clinic for their second dose.
- The measles vaccine is free, safe and effective. Protect your family now and vaccinate
While authorities recorded more than 500 cases so far, they believe there are thousands more cases that have not been reported.
Children are particularly vulnerable to the disease because they are more likely to suffer from complications that could lead to permanent disability or death.
Measles can cause blindness, severe diarrhoea, ear infection and pneumonia, particularly in malnourished children (people who do not eat fruits and vegetables) and people with reduced immunity.
The best protection against measles is vaccination.
And that’s what health authorities are doing now.
Besides opening up clinics and visiting schools, they have set up eight locations in Honiara where members of the public can get vaccinated (see page 1 report today).
Parents are urged to take their children, if they haven’t done that yet, to get a vaccination.
All we can do at this time is to follow the advice our health authorities are giving us.
Remember that prevention is better than cure!