Residents are being urged to get vaccinated particularly in light of a recent report which indicates that measles still exists in 22 US states.
“My encouragement to you is to protect yourself, your children, and other family members from these diseases by ensuring that your family is up to date with their vaccination schedule,” Minister for Health and Social Development, Carvin Malone said.
The minister further said, being a country of frequent travellers and a tourism hot spot, “these developments may cause concern to residents”.
Five to 10 percent still vulnerable
Ninty to 95 percent of the children are up to date with their vaccination schedules, a government release has said.
This effectively means that between five and 10 percent of the population is still vulnerable.
“As a territory, we will continue to strive to achieve 100 percent coverage for all of the recommended vaccines. We continue to advocate and admonish parents and caregivers to ensure that their children are vaccinated and protected from vaccine-preventable diseases because we all have a part to play in protecting and preserving the health of our community.”
Apart from measles, vaccinations provide protection from diseases such as Polio, Hepatitis A and B, Influenza, Tetanus and Chicken Pox.
Malone continued: “Although vaccinations have provided a shield for us against these diseases for many years, now, more and more, persons are opting not to vaccinate. This has prompted the World Health Organisation (WHO) to highlight ‘vaccine hesitancy’ as one of the top 10 threats to global health in 2019.”
The BVI’s last recorded case of measles was in 1990. Vaccination Week is being observed from April 20 to 27 under the theme ‘Do Your Part. Protect Your Community’.
Recent reported cases in US
Meanwhile, a recent report from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that between January 1 to April 19 this year, some 626 cases of measles have been confirmed in 22 states.
The figure represents an upsurge of 71 cases from the week before and the second highest number of reported cases since the contagious disease was eliminated in the year 2000, it further noted.
Measles is spread through the measles virus found in the nose and throat of an infected person and can be spread through coughing and sneezing.
Common symptoms include a running nose, high fever, tiny white spots and body rash.
The highest number was in 2014 when 667 reported cases were seen.
“In the coming weeks, 2,019 confirmed case numbers will likely surpass 2014 levels,” the report added.
Currently, the disease has been reported in California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Washington, among other states.
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