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World Cup Travelers to Get Vaccinated

The Public Health Department reminds residents who plan to travel to the World Cup, during the period June 12 – July 13, 2014, to complete their vaccinations at least two weeks ahead of travel.

“All residents of the Cayman Islands travelling to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, including delegation members and media personnel, should be fully vaccinated against measles and rubella prior to their travel” said Medical Officer of Health, Dr Kumar.

“Essentially all vaccinations should be completed at least two weeks before travel. As we are now at the start of June, we are making a special call for those who intend to travel to this region and have not yet been vaccinated, to do so immediately,” Dr Kumar added.

During the World Cup, it is estimated that over 600,000 fans from across the World will travel to join in events. Nineteen out of 32 of the countries participating in the World Cup had reported measles cases in 2013. Officials are concerned that the easy access and frequency of air travel will put all non-immune persons at risk for infectious diseases and could re-introduce the viruses in the Americas.

All travelers to the World Cup over the age of 6 months are to be vaccinated against measles and rubella, preferably with the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine.

In the Cayman Islands, two doses of MMR are customarily given at 15 months and again at 4-6 years. Travelers who are not up to date with their vaccines are at greater risk of contracting these diseases when in close contact with infected persons in countries and locations where the viruses still circulate.

The first sign of measles is usually a high fever which begins about 10 to 12 days after exposure to the virus from a measles case. A runny nose and cough, along with red and watery eyes and small white spots inside the cheeks can develop in the initial stage. This is followed by a rash on the face and upper neck, eventually reaching the hands and feet. Close contact with other people must be avoided for seven days following onset of rash.

Travelers to Brazil are advised to contact the Public Health Clinic on 244-2648 or Faith Hospital on 948-2243 for an appointment, or to consult their physician to seek necessary vaccination and travel advisory.

In the event they develop a rash and fever, they should contact a physician immediately and advise of their travel history.

For further information contact: Yvette Cacho