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Measles Threatens the Region

Measles Threatens the Region
May 03
10:33 2019

Thursday, May 2nd. 2019 –
There has been an outbreak of Measles again in some Central American countries and because that could mean one infected person on a flight, bus or boat heading our way, the Ministry of Health is advising Belizeans to make use of the free vaccinations that are available at public health clinics and hospitals.

Dr. Natalia Beer who is an advisor at the Ministry’s Maternal and Child Care Unit, told the Reporter on Monday that the disease is potentially deadly for patients, particularly children. Hence everyone, including persons who cannot recall getting the vaccine, can go to the nearest health clinic and get vaccinated again in order to avoid contracting Measles.

“The problem is all the countries that are facing outbreaks are “imported cases” and the infected persons come into these countries and come in contact with persons that did not receive the vaccine and those are the ones that are contracting and spreading the disease,” Dr. Beer warned. Hence, “we need to make sure that every person living in Belize is up-to-date with their Measles vaccination,” she advised.

Once you have not been vaccinated for Measles, there is a 90 percent chance you will contract it from someone who has it, the Health official cautioned. She explained that a person can pick up the virus from touching the exposed germ that has been on counter tops and surfaces for up to two hours, as well as through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes as far as six feet away. The trickle effect can be worrying, Dr. Beer warned because it is estimated that out of every infected case, another 18 persons will contract the disease.

Measles can come with symptoms that include fever, a rash which normally starts behind the ear, diarrhea, infection, pneumonia (which usually causes death in children under five who are infected), and brain swelling which can occur right away or years later.

The last case of Measles was reported in Belize in 1991, but this should not be cause for nonchalance, the doctor said because it only takes one case to have a sweeping effect. She advises anyone who comes down with a fever, followed by a rash, to report to the nearest health clinic so that the case can be investigated and proper measures taken. Everyone in the household would be advised to get vaccinated.

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