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A travel warning has been issued by Fiji's Ministry of Health to all travellers to take extra precautions following the outbreak of serogroup W meningococcal disease (MenW) in New Zealand.
The Ministry of Health and Medical Services in a statement said the confirmation came from health authorities in New Zealand and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
This particular strain of MenW affects all age groups and is associated with a high number of fatalities, said the Ministry of Health.
Northland has reported the most cases during this outbreak in 2018 and Fijians have been warned to be especially mindful when planning visits to this area.
If travelling to New Zealand, the Ministry advises Fijians to:
* Be alert for the signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease and visit the nearest health facility if you have these symptoms.
* Practice good hygiene to prevent yourself from contracting the bacteria.
Common symptoms of the disease include:
Symptoms of meningococcal disease, especially for older children and adults include sudden fever, vomiting, headache, and stiff neck/backache. Other symptoms include:
* Eyes are sensitive to light
* Rash – red/purple spots in the skin
It can be difficult to notice the symptoms in babies, or they may not be there at all. Some of the symptoms that you should be alert for are:
* High fever
* Unusual crying
* Refusing to eat or drink
* Changes in sleeping patterns
* Seizures or Fits
* Rash – red/purple spots on the skin
In addition to the common symptoms of the disease, some MenW patients in New Zealand have also had gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g. diarrhoea), pneumonia, and/or joint pain.
The Ministry of Health said this is a deadly disease. If a person has the signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease, they should seek urgent medical treatment.
Pacific Islands News Association
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International News Safety Institute (INSI)
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