The Ministry of Health and Medical Services says, its up-scaling the age range of persons affected with Measles to 30 years is purposely to contain the viral infection.
This was confirmed in a radio talk-back show on Measles through the National Broadcaster SIBC yesterday.
Dr Titus Nasi who looks after children diagnosed with Measles at the National Referral Hospital says the infection can affect people regardless of their age.
But he says the Medical authority has decided to up-scale the age range to 30 years based on Health surveillance assessments, with groups who developed signs and symptoms of the infection.
“We’ve targeted the groups who are actually developing the symptoms and signs of measles and so it has two peaks; those below one year and those between 16-20 years, but the cases we are having spreads even up to 50 years, and it is that spread that we tried to cover in order to minimize the spread of the virus and the measles infections, so I think that’s the reason we up-scale the age group, party the cases we are seeing and to control the spread of measles.”
SIBC News understands, the measles outbreak has so far claimed two lives in Honiara last week.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services reminds people in the country that immunization against measles is the best preventative measure against the disease.
Health Permanent Secretary Dr Lester Ross says the risk of measles is high amongst children under one year old, therefore, it is important for parents to bring their children to the clinics for immunization.
“The disease that affects the country’s population has placed a high risk on less than a year old children, which is why we really encourage you all to bring children less than a year old. Children above one year old and adults have a low risk of contracting pneumonia, red eye and other diarrheal complications are not high, which may cause death incidents.”
He says the Ministry has decided to raise the age of vaccination to 30 years in order to contain the measles out-break, adding that vaccines are available.
“In order for us to contain this outbreak is the reason why we raise the age to 30 years. I would like to inform the public that we currently have enough vaccines in Honiara and parts of Guadalcanal which are accessible by road, to cover 50,000 cases, so vaccine is available. Bring your children so that we can immunize them to protect them from this sickness, especially children who are less than a year old.”
SIBC News understands, a mass immunization program to prevent the Measles out-break conducted by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services will start in Honiara Wednesday this week.