Port Moresby is being placed under red alert of a serious outbreak by the Health Department with four new confirmed cases of measles.
Health authorities have taken immediate charge of the outbreak by planning a mass measles vaccination to be rolled out starting on Wednesday.
The four new laboratory confirmed cases have been detected in different areas of Port Moresby in the last few days. These cases were detected after the first positive case reported from the Port Moresby General Hospital two weeks ago.
With few additional cases being tested in the Central Public Health Laboratory, it is clear that measles is wide spread in National Capital District. The mass measles vaccination planned by the National Capital District Health Services will contain the spread of the disease in Port Moresby and to other provinces.
All children and young adults from six months to 20 years will be vaccinated in this program.
All suspected measles cases, detected as fever and rash cases are being tested in the Central public Health Laboratory in Port Moresby. All parents are requested to visit their nearest health facility immediately if any person in their house or neighbourhood has fever and rash to seek treatment and advice from health workers.
Measles is a highly contagious, serious disease caused by a virus spread by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact or direct contact with infected nasal or throat secretions and primarily affects unvaccinated young children who are at highest risk of measles and its complications, including death.
The sign of measles is high fever and rash starting in face and upper neck ending area, in hands and feet with runny nose, a cough, red and watery eyes. Severe measles is more likely to occur among poorly nourished young children, especially those with insufficient vitamin A, or whose immune systems have been weakened by HIV/AIDS or other diseases.
Measles can lead to blindness, encephalitis or an infection that causes brain swelling, severe diarrhoea and related dehydration, ear infections, or severe respiratory infections such as pneumonia. Routine measles vaccination for children combined with mass immunization campaigns is key public health strategies to reduce measles cases and deaths. The currently used measles vaccine in Papua New Guinea has been in use for 50 years. It is safe, effective and inexpensive. "In order to protect our children who are the future of Papua New Guinea, I request all parents to visit their nearest health centre and get their children (six months to 20 years) vaccinated with measles vaccine," said Secretary for Health, Pascoe Kase. Post Courier