Wed | May 24, 2017

Health ministry heightens measles vigilance after US outbreak

Published:Friday | January 30, 2015 | 1:03 PM

The Ministry of Health says it is closely monitoring the measles outbreak which has affected several states in the United States and Mexico.



This follows a measles alert issued by the Caribbean Public Health Agency on Wednesday.



Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr Marion Bullock DuCasse notes that Jamaica has been free of local transmission of measles since 1991 because of the success of its Expanded Programme on Immunization.



However, she says the country still has to be vigilant as diseases can cross borders.



DuCasse is urging all Jamaicans to ensure that they and their children are protected.



She says parents who have not immunised their children against measles and other vaccine preventable diseases for their age should do so immediately.



The health ministry has advised that the most common and first symptoms of measles include a fever, conjunctivitis or sore eyes and a runny nose.



It says small white spots usually develop inside the mouth a day or so later and that a harsh dry cough, reduction in appetite, tiredness, aches and pains are also usual symptoms.



After several days, a rash erupts on the face and upper neck, which spreads downwards, reaching the hands and feet.



Measles is caused by a highly contagious virus that is spread through direct contact and through the air.



Complications include pneumonia and it can lead to death.



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