Children's outpatient clinic to be closed due to measles

As of Friday this week, the Children’s Outpatient Clinic at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole (T.T.M) Hospital will be closed in order to avoid sick people becoming infected with measles when seeking treatment. 

This was announced by the Ministry of Health. The clinic will close from Friday and that all emergency and suspected cases of measles should go to the Acute Primary Care Clinic or Outpatient Department.

Non-measles patients should seek treatment with private doctors at their clinics if they are not in critical condition, but the Emergency Department remains open 24 hours a day.

“This change is a result of the increasing number of measles cases presenting to T.T.M Hospital and to prevent people coming to the hospital with non-measles complaints, becoming infected with measles,” the Ministry states.

Of the total 716 suspected and 48 confirmed cases of measles, 40 per cent (290 cases) have been admitted to hospitals. 219 of those are children under four-years-old.

Majority of cases have been admitted to T.T.M. Hospital while just six have been admitted to Leulumoega Hospital. 

Savai'i’s four hospitals have seen a total of 24 cases. 

The Ministry has confirmed at least six people are measles-related mortalities, five of which are under two years old and one 37 year old.

The six deaths include previously reported on 14-month-old Peter von Heiderbrandt, an eight-month-old and a 37-year-old.

Director General of the Ministry of Health Leausa Dr. Take Naseri suspects the adult succumbed to M.R.S.A. (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) sepsis, a severe infection immune to antibiotics.

From the Press Release:

Being vaccinated against measles is the best way to prevent infection. Achieving a high level of vaccination across the country is key to controlling the epidemic. The measles vaccination continues to be available at all Health Facilities.

We wish to remind the public that the measles virus is very contagious. The measles virus can be spread by an infected person through the air through breathing, coughing or sneezing. It is important for the public to remain alert for any signs or symptoms of measles.

Initial measles symptoms can include: fever, cough, runny nose, red and watery eyes, eye sensitivity to light, as well as diarrhoea in children. After 3-5 days a raised red rash will appear, usually commencing on the face and neck and spreading to the rest of the body. 

For anyone who has any of the above symptoms:

Stay at home and keep isolated from others
Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing, or wear a mask
Keep hydrated by drinking lots of fluids
Take paracetamol tablets, or paracetamol syrup for children, if experiencing a fever and apply cool sponging
Seek medical advice if you or your child’s condition worsens despite the above treatment

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

 The Ministry advises the public to:

Refrain from being in places where there are a lot of people.
Ensure that children’s vaccination and immunization status is kept up to date.
Ensure that children 6 months and above are vaccinated, if they have not been vaccinated.
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.

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 advise the immunisation nurse or doctor if you have any of the above conditions or any other Non-Communicable Disease (diabetes, high blood pressure etc). 

For further information on measles, please contact your nearest health facility or a healthcare provider.

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