CPS Alerts Family Physicians on Wednesday to be observant due to Measles Outbreak in the U.S.  

Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, on Wednesday advised local family physicians to be observant with respect to measles.

This cautionary measure comes due to the measles outbreak in parts of the United States. The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has sent out a circular to all public health authorities in the region to monitor the global measles situation and in particular the current outbreak in the United States and Mexico.

The Caribbean sub-region has been successful in maintaining a measles-free status since 1991.  In light of the strong travel ties between the Caribbean and the USA, and given that we are in the midst of the tourism high-season, CARPHA has advised enhanced vigilance for fever-rash syndromes among members of the local and visitor populations.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that from January 1 to January 23, 68 people from 11 states were reported to have measles.

Most of these cases are part of a large, ongoing outbreak linked to an amusement park in California.  In 2014, the United States according to the CDC experienced a record number of measles cases, 644 cases from 27 states, and this is the greatest number of cases since measles elimination was documented in the U.S. in 2000.

CPS advises guardians and parents to check their children’s vaccination status to see whether they are up to date.  If persons decide to travel, they should also check their vaccination status and to make use of every opportunity to get vaccinated according to the schedule.

The majority of people who get measles are unvaccinated.  Measles is still common in many parts of the world including some countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Pacific.

Other individuals who should get their vaccination status checked are, health care workers, pregnant women, pre-and exam class students, as well as groups at risks such as waste/garbage handlers, the Police, hotel and restaurant workers, and others to verify and update their vaccination status, particularly on Hepatitis B and Tetanus.

Immunization averts an estimated two-three million deaths every year, protecting children from diphtheria, measles, pertussis (better known as whooping cough), pneumonia, polio, rotavirus diarrhea, rubella, tetanus and others.