By Alexis R. Milan
The Ministry of Health this week issued an advisory to all Belizeans to familiarize themselves with the symptoms of and to report any suspected cases of measles, following reports of an outbreak in parts of North America and Mexico.
According to the MOH, they were alerted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of an outbreak of measles at the Disneyland Resort in California, USA. Cases have also been reported in Canada and one case related to the Disneyland outbreak has been reported in Mexico.
Measles is a contagious disease characterized by fever, rash, runny nose and red eyes. It spreads through air droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Belizeans are reminded that the Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine is available throughout the country in all public and NHI health facilities free of cost to the public. The MOH also collaborates with private sector health facilities to ensure the availability of the vaccines.
According to the Ministry, although measles remains prevalent in many parts of the world, Belize has been free from the disease since 1991. The MMR vaccines have been pre-qualified and approved by the WHO and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). The Ministry has conducted numerous vaccination campaigns against measles in the past and active surveillance continues.
The public is asked to report any signs or symptoms of the disease to the nearest health facility in their area or the Ministry of Health in Belmopan at 822-2325/2363.