Suspected Case of Imported Measles
The Ministry of Health has confirmed that there is a suspected case of imported measles on island. Currently Montserrat has 100% vaccination rate for children on island.
The Ministry explained that an individual visiting from the UK presented at the Casualty Department with signs and symptoms of Measles. Samples have been taken from the suspected patient and will be sent off to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) for testing. The Ministry added that contact tracing is continuing and the department will follow up on all persons exposed until the end of February.
The Ministry is therefore recommending that all persons on island review their vaccination status to ensure adequate immunity to measles.
Measles is a serious, highly contagious disease, which spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Although highly contagious, the Ministry of Health said the measles vaccine is highly effective in preventing infection. It explained that people who are vaccinated or have had measles before are unlikely to catch measles, even if they had
contact with a contagious person. But those who were not previously vaccinated, are very likely to catch measles if exposed to the virus.
The Ministry noted that the best way to prevent measles is ‘timely vaccination, adding that infants and young children are at high risk of getting a serious case of measles.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends two doses of measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine for everyone starting at age 12 months. For those travelling internationally, CDC recommends that all residents older than 6 months who have not yet been immunize, receive MMR vaccine prior to departure.
Measles symptoms can begin one to three weeks after exposure and can include high fever, runny nose, coughing and watery red eyes. A rash develops on the face and neck two to three days after the fever begins, and spreads down the body. The rash usually lasts five or six days. An infected person is contagious for several days before and after the rash appears
The Ministry of Health is urging anyone who shows symptoms of measles to contact their nearest health centre or healthcare provider immediately.