Stepping up the anti-Measles campaign in Belize Print E-mail
( 0 Votes )
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 17 May 2019 00:00

The Belize Ministry of Health is currently working towards ensuring that 95% of children under ten years of age get their two doses of MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) Vaccine. We have observed over the last few weeks numerous nurses actively seeking out babies, who have been absent from their regular Maternal and Child Health Care clinics.

Nurse Sharon Espinoza, Nurse Administrator at the Ministry of Health is now warning all those who have never been vaccinated to get their MMR fifteen days before they travel to countries that have been listed with measles such as the United States, Canada and nations in Europe.

The Ministry of Health has also been sensitizing children at primary schools in the hope that they would go back to their parents with information on measles. At the same time, brochures and pamphlets on measles have also been produced.

The good news is that Belize has no reported cases of measles at this time.

Measles is passed easily from person to person and anyone who is unvaccinated is at risk of getting the disease. Measles starts with flu-like symptoms such as fever, runny nose, cough and “Pink Eye”. The rash appears three to four days after the fever starts, usually spreading from head to toe.

The public is reminded to:

Report any cases of persons with fever and rash to the nearest health center; and practice good hygiene by washing hands frequently with clean, running water and soap.  Unvaccinated children under age ten years or those with no proof of vaccination should visit their nearest health center and get vaccinated. The measles vaccine is available free of cost at all public health facilities countrywide.

Before vaccination, measles infected more than 95 percent of all children and was responsible for more than four million deaths worldwide each year. After the introduction of the measles vaccine in the 1960s, childhood deaths from not just measles but a wide range of infectious diseases dropped substantially. Measles seems to erase immune protections that the child has from other infectious diseases.

The World Health Organization had hoped to eliminate measles worldwide by 2020. Measles is one of the leading causes of death for children, according to the World Health Organization, which estimates that 450 die each day worldwide due to the illness.

Infants are vulnerable to complications of measles, so they are best protected by herd immunity, advises the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. Herd immunity is achieved when at least 95% of the total population of a country gets the recommended two doses of vaccine.