The measles virus is a virus that can be prevented with proper vaccination, yet recently the measles virus is coming back in the Americas, East Mediterranean and Europe. This comeback is primarily due to the lack of protection provided by the vaccine. The PAHO has recently submitted an advisory to the Caribbean islands including Aruba, to be extra vigilant towards tourists showing any symptoms, entering the island at the airport or cruise terminal.
The Measles virus is a very serious and contagious disease. It can cause weakness or severe complications and can even be fatal or cause encephalitis (inflammation and swelling of the brain), but also cause severe diarrhea and dehydration, pneumonia, ear infection and permanent blindness. Babies and malnourished children in combination with a weak immune are vulnerable for complications.
The PAHO is urging all countries to maintain a proper vaccination coverage in order to stop the further spreading of the measles virus. A 95% vaccination coverage is necessary to prevent a measles outbreak. Every child should be vaccinated with both dosis of the MMR vaccine, one should be administered at the age of 12 months and the second at the age of 4 years old. These vaccines are available at all Wit Gele Kruis (White Yellow Cross) and additionally at school through the yearly Youth Health Care program if necessary.
Anybody showing symptoms like fever accompanied by cough, stuffed nose and eye infection with a recent travel history to or from any of the measles infected countries should be treated for possible measles before any other symptom or rash occurs. The Measles disease is a highly contagious disease within the first 4 days before any symptoms occur. These individuals should be closely monitored for any further development or worsening of the symptoms and should be isolated if worsening occur.
The PAHO is urging the close monitoring of tourists showing any of the symptoms of measles. Tourists with the measles should seek medical care immediately. If vaccination can not be proved, a vaccination should be offered. The PAHO also urges the strict reporting of suspected cases to the local Department of Public Health’s division of Infectious Diseases according to the national ordinance for infectious diseases at 5224221 or 5224239 or 5224241.