The Department of Health is encouraging everyone to ensure their vaccinations are up-to-date, especially if they have plans to travel this summer.
Due to persons being under-vaccinated or unvaccinated, measles in particular has returned to some areas of the world.
Following a record low of measles in Europe in 2016, it rebounded in 2017 with 22,000 cases reported and more than 11,000 cases in January and February of 2018, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO also reported that, 11 countries, including Canada, USA and countries in South America, have 1,685 confirmed cases of measles in the Region of the Americas in the first months of 2018.
During outbreaks, persons who are unvaccinated are affected most. When less than 95% of the community is vaccinated, there is less protection and the disease is more likely to spread.
Measles is a highly contagious virus that can live in the nose and throat mucus of the infected person. It can spread by coughing and sneezing from an infected person. The droplets can last up to two hours in the airspace.
It is so contagious that up to 90% of people close to the person who are not immune will also become infected.
Measles is extremely serious, especially in children under the age of 5 years. Measles can cause health problems including pneumonia, blindness, and inflammation of the brain.
Before travelling ensure you and your children’s routine vaccinations are up-to-date, including persons attending the World Cup.
You can receive the MMR vaccine at your doctor’s office or the Adult Immunization and Travel Health clinics in the Department of Health.
If you attend the Travel Health Clinic be sure to visit the website: https://www.gov.bm/health-clinics-bermuda to download and use the Trip Planning Questionnaire to help with your visit. Vaccines are country-specific and you should book your appointment at least 6 weeks before your planned travel.
More information about the schedules of immunizations can be found here: https://www.gov.bm/immunization-schedules-children-and-adults