In response to recent outbreaks of measles internationally, the Ministry of Health and Wellness will be visiting nurseries and day care centres throughout the island to make sure that the vaccination schedule of children in these institutions is up-to-date.
Starting Monday, public health teams will be inspecting immunization records to ensure that children are protected from this highly infectious disease. Parents will be advised by the nursery or day care of the date when the team will be visiting and are asked to send the immunization cards on that date.
Measles is a highly contagious, vaccine-preventable disease that can cause serious illness and death, especially in children. Symptoms include fever, cough, running nose, watery eyes and a rash. The rash usually develops three to five days after the other symptoms have started, and infected persons can spread the disease from four days before to four days after the rash appears.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness advises that measles can be prevented once children receive two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine which, in Barbados, is administered at ages 12 months and 18 months. Parents of children who have not been vaccinated are advised to contact their health care provider immediately.
Recent outbreaks of measles have been reported in North America, the United Kingdom, Europe and the Americas.