The Ministry of Health in Antigua and Barbuda is investigating a suspected case of measles that was imported into the country by a visitor from the United Kingdom.
According to Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Rhonda Sealey-Thomas, the suspected case was reported by the doctor who treated the patient.
Sealey-Thomas said the patient with the suspected case of measles has been isolated and those who travelled with her, will be quarantined and monitored to see whether or not they are affected.
The Health Ministry will also ensure that they are properly vaccinated as the ministry awaits laboratory confirmation of the disease.
Meanwhile, the ministry has issued an appeal to the public to ensure that they are adequately immunized against measles, mumps and rubella with the MMR vaccine.
In 2016, the Region of the Americas, including Antigua and Barbuda was certified as being free of measles. However, Sealey-Thomas says health officials should ensure the country retains its measles-free status by ensuring families are properly vaccinated.
“We need parents to check to see that your children have the correct dosage of the MMR, the measles, mumps rubella vaccine. Take your card and your child to the nearest health center so the nurses there can check and ensure that your child is properly vaccinated or if they need another dosage,” Sealey-Thomas said in an advisory.
Adults are also being encouraged to check with their physician if they are unsure about their vaccination status.
Symptoms of measles
Measles is a highly contagious disease which is characterized by high fever, cough, runny nose and a red rash which starts on the face and spreads to the body. It is caused by a virus and is spread through coughing and sneezing.
There is no specific treatment, but the measles vaccine that is administered as part of a country’s vaccination program provides lifelong protection against the disease.
Those who are not vaccinated face a higher risk of getting the viral infection.