Two weeks ago the Ministry of Health notified the public that 33 different countries in Europe and 5 countries in the Americas had citizens facing an epidemic known as measles. The measles outbreak is common for children ages one to four but can also be caught by anyone coming in contact with the virus. In Belize there has not been a case of Measles reported since 1991. In 1998 a campaign against MMR conducted by the Ministry of Health showed that 95% of Belizes population was vaccinated against the disease. But thats 11 years ago and with a pandemic outbreak the Ministry of Health is advising all Belizeans who have not been vaccinated against the disease to do so as soon as possible.

nurseNurse Esther Deville- NRH

“Basically vaccination is a preventative one. We also know that the disease, in its contagious period starts with fever, cough because it is transmitted just like a flue it is a droplet infection. Its’ fever, cough but it is four days before the rash comes out and four days after but then if you have a cough you don’t know if you if it is measles until you it comes inside with the rash and it is tested that it is that, so basically the best thing is to get the vaccine and then you can prevent a lot of pain on a child.”

Carmelita Perez-Reporter

“Vaccinating yourself against the measles does it mean that you will not get the disease?”

Nurse Esther Deville- NRH

“A high percent that you will not get it, I would say 99% that you will not get the disease and if you do get it, it will not be very severe. That’s the recommendation of CBC and we follow those recommendations and it is not only that we have it here in Belize, we follow recommendation from PAHO and those organizations that have done tested it, those are scientific tests that are done on those vaccines and it says that it is to prevent it but the chances are probably very small that if you do have the disease it would be very mild.”

The symptoms of the disease include fever, rash, severe runny nose, and conjunctivitis which causes red eyes. According to Nurse Esther Deville from the Northern Regional Hospital Measles is such a highly contagious viral disease it can even cause death.

Nurse Esther Deville- NRH

“In every one thousand you can have two deaths. Measles is an infection of the throat that is close to the brain, it can cause the infection of the ear and on the brain and that inflammation of the brain can cause severe brain damage and it can cause death, it’s an infection it can also cause the pneumonia which can kill you. The chances are there, if we look at it at the death rate we can say two in a double it’s our love one, even if it is one death it is a lot for us, so we don’t want that, we don’t even want them to suffer from the disease when you have things that can prevent it, the vaccine is here.”

mesileCarmelita Perez-Reporter

“Once you have received those vaccines, you do not need to take it again as an adult?”

Nurse Esther Deville- NRH

“No, the recommendation is no. You don’t need to, those are one of the vaccines you don’t need to, you get it and that’s it for life. It is unlike other vaccines, every ten years you get a dose, but this one here no, the recommendation has been that as a child if you get it twice that’s it and as an adult you don’t remember you get it then get one and that’s it.”

Viewers are reminded that Measles is a disease that is noticeable. If you think you or someone in your family may have the disease you are advised to seek immediate medical assistance.

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