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Jamaican travellers warned to protect themselves against measles

Published:Wednesday | July 24, 2019 | 9:46 AM
Health and Wellness Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton - File photo

Jamaicans travelling to countries known to have the measles virus in circulation are being urged by the Ministry of Health and Wellness to ensure that they are adequately protected.

Noting that at this time of year Jamaicans are preparing for travel overseas, the Ministry is reminding citizens to ensure that they and in particular, their children, are fully vaccinated against measles with the Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Health and Wellness Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, informed that as at May 17, the countries in the region that had reported confirmed measles cases are Argentina, The Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, USA, Uruguay, and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

Tufton, who made a statement in Parliament on Tuesday, underscored that measles is a highly contagious viral disease affecting mainly children.

He pointed out that infection spreads rapidly even before symptoms are evident and therefore has the potential to cause outbreaks.

Vaccination is the only way to prevent the spread of measles, Tufton stressed.

Two doses of the MMR vaccine are needed to provide full protection against the disease.

The health and wellness minister said that Jamaica has prioritised MMR vaccination for children 10 years old and younger and that the Ministry provides vaccines free of cost to children.

Adults over 40 years of age are likely to be immune to measles given that the virus would have been circulating in Jamaica during their childhood.

Persons who are unsure of their vaccination status should contact their healthcare provider or visit a health centre.

Persons, who develop a fever and rash, especially after visiting a country known to have measles cases, must contact their healthcare provider or visit a health centre immediately.

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