Turks and Caicos, May 3, 2017 – Providenciales – Following the shocking case of measles on April 1st, when the surveillance team at the ministry received an unofficial report that a crew member from a West Jet flight that flew into the TCI, was diagnosed with measles, the Ministry of Health saw the need to provide an update on Measles exposure.
Measles is a highly infectious disease accompanied by rash with fever and at least one of these three symptoms: runny nose, cough and red eyes. Other symptoms include small greyish white spots with a bluish-white center inside the mouth, cheek and throat and body aches. It is spread through droplet infection; coughs and sneezes. The period when a person is infectious and can spread the virus is within 7 to 10 days of exposure, but can be up to 14 days. The number one way of preventing measles is through the vaccination with the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine. This vaccine is offered free of cost at all primary health care facilities.
The Turks and Caicos Islands has maintained high coverage, over 95%, in the MMR vaccine. The last reported case of measles in the TCI was in 1991.
To be considered fully protected against measles, the individual must have two doses of the MMR vaccine. The TCI offers this at ages 1 and 2 years. Anyone who is uncertain about their immunization status should bring their take-home vaccine cards into any primary care clinic to have it checked.