Island on alert for measles
Bermuda’s public health sector is on a “guarded” alert after a resurgence of the measles virus in North America, the Caribbean and Europe, according to Cheryl Peek-Ball, the Chief Medical Officer.
She cautioned that there had been no cases of measles reported in Bermuda since 1990, but that a threat remained of a case being imported.
The Ministry of Health has advised all residents, especially if travelling abroad, to become informed about the disease, know their immune status, and get vaccinated if at risk.
If you have travelled and fallen unwell with fever and body rash, it is important to inform your healthcare professional of your travel history.
If you suspect you have measles, seek telephone advice immediately from your healthcare provider before travelling to the healthcare setting.
Measles is a highly contagious respiratory illness that can spread be quickly through the air.
Dr Peek-Ball added: “Individuals born before 1957 are considered to be immune due to high circulation of the measles virus in that era.
“Individuals born in 1957 or thereafter, and are uncertain whether they have been adequately vaccinated against measles should discuss their risk with their healthcare provider.
“A blood test can determine whether you are immune either due to previous infection or through vaccination.
“If you are not immune, vaccination against measles offers the best protection. The combined vaccine, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) is recommended as it is scientifically proven safe and effective against the three components.
“In addition to advising vaccination for all individuals at risk, the Ministry of Health is collaborating with healthcare providers on island to assure that all are on heightened alert to the possibility of measles. A suspected case of measles must be quickly recognised and reported to the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit for prompt public health action to control the spread. Physicians are reminded to immediately report suspected cases of measles to the nurse epidemiologist email@example.com, 278-6503 or 332-8932.
“If you or your child has not been vaccinated against measles, contact your physician or visit the Child Health Clinic located at the Hamilton Health Centre, 67 Victoria Street, Hamilton.”
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