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Look Out for Measles

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kiran Kumar.

There have been no reported cases of measles in the Cayman Islands since 1991.

—Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kiran Kumar

The Public Health Department has issued a health advisory to Cayman residents who attended the World Cup in South Africa after a case of the measles has been reported in a 24-year-old Australian male.

It is suspected that he contracted the virus when he travelled from Australia to attend the FIFA event in South Africa.

There have been no reported cases of measles in the Cayman Islands since 1991. Immunization coverage in the Cayman Islands is over 90% which is in accordance with the World Health Organization's guidelines. The speed and frequency of air travel put all non -immune persons at risk for infectious diseases including measles.

Measles is however, still common in many developing countries particularly in Africa and Asia and people visiting these regions should pay attention to possible symptoms.

"Anyone returning from these regions who experiences a sudden high fever accompanied by a rash is encouraged to seek medical attention immediately and give a travel history for necessary investigation," said Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kiran Kumar. "There is no need to be alarmed this is just an alert to the returning travellers for this region" he added.

"The first sign of measles is usually a high fever which begins about 10 to 12 days after exposure to the virus. A runny nose, cough along with red and watery eyes and small white spots inside the cheeks can develop in the initial stage followed by a rash on the face and upper neck eventually reaching the hands and feet, he explained.

Measles is caused by a virus which grows in the cells that line the back of the throat and lungs. Measles is a human disease and is not known to occur in animals.

For more information, call the Public Health Department on 244-2648 or 244-2621, or Faith Hospital on 948-2243.

For further information contact: Cornelia Oliver