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MOH on high alert for measles

By Benjamin Flowers

The Ministry of Health is on alert for any cases of measles being reported in Belize.
The ministry issued a notice on Monday, saying that it has been informed of a positive case of measles reported in Guatemala, which was imported from Germany. In response to this alert, the Ministry convened a meeting with all its public health nurses last week to share the information and activate an immediate heightened surveillance to follow up on any presentation of symptoms that can possibly lead to a positive Measles case.

Given the constant number of persons traveling between Belize and Guatemala, the ministry has asked the public to immediately report to the nearest health facility if they observe themselves or someone with certain symptoms.
Those symptoms include: history of fever of 4 days, rash that started on the neck and face and scattered on the body thereafter and any one of the 3 C’s (Cough, Coryza or a runny nose, or Conjunctivitis) or any person with fever and any one of the 3 C’s (Cough, Coryza or a runny nose, or Conjunctivitis), even before the onset of rash, with history of travel to and from the UK in the previous 30 days.

“Suspicious cases need to be isolated and investigated to avoid spread to susceptible individuals,” the Ministry said.
The MOH noted that measles is a highly infectious viral disease but is also a vaccine-preventable. While locally there has not been a reported case of measles since 1991, the number of cases in the Americas rose from 92 to 271 between 2016 and 2017. The ministry also said that the Caribbean is reporting highly suspicious cases imported from the United Kingdom (UK).

“The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that every eligible child receive 2 doses of measles-containing vaccine. It also encourages adults who are not fully immunized, or who are not sure of their immunity status, to get vaccinated,” the ministry added.

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