Measles outbreak in region believed to be from Europe

| 01/02/2018 | 19 Comments

(CNS): The Public Health Department is issuing an alert for travellers after at least two cases of measles were confirmed in the Caribbean and Central America that appear to have been imported from Europe. There have been no cases of measles in the Cayman Islands since 1990. Local immunisation coverage against the disease is around 90% among 15-month-old children and about 97% by the time they reach school age. But officials are urging anyone who becomes unwell after returning from the UK and Europe as well as parts of the US to visit a doctor.

People who are experiencing a sudden high fever accompanied by a rash should seek medical attention immediately and provide their travel history to the doctor for necessary investigation.

“If you are travelling to any of the affected areas where measles has been confirmed, safeguard yourself and your family by ensuring that your and your children’s immunisations against measles are up to date,” advised Nurse Angela Graham, manager of the Health Services Authority’s Expanded Programme on Immunisation. “Unprotected children are at the greatest risk of contracting this virus, should a case be imported to the Cayman Islands. It is the responsibility of parents and guardians, alike, to ensure that their children are protected.”

Dr Samuel Williams-Rodriguez, Acting Medical Officer of Health, said that while there has been great progress in the fight against measles regionally, there is a risk of spread and sustained transmission in areas with susceptible populations.

“Vaccination with at least two doses remains the most effective measure,” he said. “I emphasise that measles can be reintroduced as we have many residents and visitors travelling to and from the Americas and European countries. We should therefore remain vigilant.”

He added, “The first sign of measles is usually a high fever which begins about 10 to 12 days after exposure to the virus. A runny nose, cough, along with red and watery eyes and small white spots inside the cheeks, can develop in the initial stage followed by a rash on the face and upper neck, eventually reaching the hands and feet.”

Measles is caused by a virus which grows in the cells that line the back of the throat and lungs. It is a human disease and is not known to occur in animals. Close contact with other people following the onset of rash must be avoided for seven days.

For complete protection, children older than 12 months should have two doses of MMR (measles mumps and rubella) vaccine. Children between 6 and 11-months, who are travelling abroad, are recommended to have one dose of MMR vaccine.

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Comments (19)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    If this had come specifically from the UK Who would be having a field day accusing Tony Blair of trying to kill Caymanians so they could take over…surprised that he hasn’t twisted EU into UK somehow

  2. No EU says:

    I guess Europe is not as advance a CI. They don’t have vaccine. Come on EU you can do better.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is a problem because of ignorant mothers who buy into anti-vaccination fake news.

  4. Anonymous says:

    High fever is not the first sign of measles. 10-12 days period of cold like symptoms precedes high fever, then white spots in a mouth appear, followed by high fever and then rash. In that order. If someone got high fever out of the blue, it is most certainly not measles.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Measles is extremely contagious. “Visit a doctor” advice is basically “ help to spread measles”. My son had it when he was 11 month old and there was not a single registered case of it in a city of 700,000 people. It started with symptoms of a common cold that would just linger for 10-12 days. Then, after reading a book about childhood diseases, I decided to look into his mouth. I saw white spots just like the book was describing. The spots weren’t very obvious. Anyway, a doctor came, yes they come to your house in France, and I pointed out the discovery to her. She admitted she had never seen measles in her career, but by then the obvious signs of measles were hard to miss. It took its course as it was supposed to. Extremely high fever was very frightening, then characteristic spread of rash followed. He completely recovered with no complications.
    Health authorities should rethink how to deal with measles and other infections. In my country there is a special isolated place staffed by infectious diseases doctors and nurses, all measures are taken to prevent the spread. Home visiting doctors is a norm.
    Doctors have become too comfortable with the absence of epidemics of major infections. Their advice is fundamentally wrong. Besides 99 doctors out of 100 would not be able to diagnose it right away. There are no measles treatment and it must run its course. Antibiotics are useless and would just inhibit body’s fighting abilities. In an unfortunate case of complications after measles has run it course, doctors intervention could be warranted. Having measles as an adult is much more dangerous.
    you can take my advice to stay home but report the infection to HSA, or go to a doctor and spread it around, it is up to you. Just don’t panic if your child gets it.

    • Anonymous says:

      8:06 That is absolutely correct. When I was a child in the UK all these infections were just part of growing up. At some point we all went through a cycle of illnesses that included things like mumps and measles. When you were infected there was one absolute rule – you didn’t go out and definitely didn’t mix with other children. If we needed a doctor they came to us. To advise people who suspect they might be infected with something like measles to ‘visit a doctor’ is just plain daft.

    • Anonymous says:

      …or immunize your child against cured baroque-era illnesses.

      • Anonymous says:

        10:52 One of the problems in Europe now is that the open borders have allowed thousands of migrants from Eastern Europe and asylum seekers from the various war-torn countries farther afield to pour in and most of them have never had access to immunizations like MMR.

        It’s like TB – that had been virtually eradicated in the UK by the early 1980s but it’s now returned and cases are not only on the increase but the strains being encountered are increasingly resistant to anti-biotics.

        To describe infections like measles in smug terms such as ‘cured baroque-era illnesses’ is ignoring the fact that large areas of the world are still living in conditions where medical treatment is not much better than it was 200 years ago.

        • Anonymous says:

          Such crap, Eastern Europe had better immunization programs than most. Just want to blame people you don’t like in your racist hellhole?

          • Anonymous says:

            Hello Who! The previous poster is correct. The Eastern European countries weren’t as good as they liked to make out on public health and immunisation. Drug-resistant TB in particular is a serious issue for the former Soviet block countries. Due, in the main, to poor follow-up rates among substance abusers, particularly alcoholics, who would only take part of the course of anti-biotics, then stop. As for measles etc – many refugees come from countries either without any or with very limited state-run medical systems. Most people have to pay privately and medicine is expensive. Childhood immunisations are also not always available, so a sizeable percentage of the population are not immunised (sufficient to impact herd immunity). There is nothing that an infectious disease loves more than a refugee camp – overcrowded, poor sanitation, lots of compromised immune systems through malnutrition and stress – and underfunded, overworked medical facilities. A perfect breeding ground for diseases. Europe was very close to eliminating measles in 2008, but has since seen a modest resurgence, mainly from imported cases (as happens from time to time in the Americas). There is nothing racist about it – it’s just a fact of life.

        • Anonymous says:

          Presuming all mothers know their duty to protect their child from avoidable harm, this French mom commenting above, opted to save her €30 on a well-known, safe, and widely available MMRV vaccine (ie. in a city of 700,000), and instead risked her child’s life through a high fever (and the lives of any of her refugee neighbours). That’s a notable parenting fail, and not a particularly impressive anecdote to share with anyone – ever.

    • Anonymous says:

      While your experience had a happy ending there are just as many people who didn’t see medical attention for these diseases who have lost children to these preventable or treatable diseases

      I for one would not want to live for the rest of my life knowing that perhaps I could have saved my child if I hadn’t tried to be a discount doctor
      Pinching pennies is fine but not when it comes to the life of your kids, even with the risk of spread there are precautions that can be taken beforehand

      • Anonymous says:

        In the decade before 1963 when a vaccine became available, nearly all children got measles by the time they were 15 years of age. Each year (before 1963), measles caused an estimated 3 to 4 million cases, 450 to 500 deaths (0.015%), 4,000 cases with encephalitis (0.13%) (

  6. Blankman says:

    Sadly that is not only sickness they bring here and infect this place wid?

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