#TurksandCaicos, May 22, 2018 – Providenciales – The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be held in Russia June 14th to June 28th 2018. It is a time when people from all regions of the world gather to cheer on their team. With large gatherings of this kind, disease outbreaks are expected and vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) are no exception.
The measles virus has rebounded in the WHO European region. In 2017, there were 21,315 cases and 35 deaths caused by measles. This is an increase from the reports of 2016 which was 5,273. The World Health Organization (WHO) noted large outbreaks in countries such as Romania, Italy and Ukraine.
The Region of the Americas have been certified free of Measles, Rubella and Congenital Rubella Syndrome(CRS); this certification means that no measles, rubella or CRS can be contracted from within the countries in the Americas.
The Region of the Americas has, however, seen imported cases from persons traveling from other affected regions of the world. Between 2011 and 2017, there have been 58 measles outbreaks between the USA, Canada, Argentina and Venezuela. In 2018, WHO have already reported 1,115 confirmed measles cases within the region, affecting seven other countries in addition to those already mentioned. It is important for us to maintain the elimination status by protecting our population through vaccinations.
Measles is a highly infectious disease characterized by fever, runny nose, cough, sore throat and conjunctivitis (red eyes). Two to three days after the symptoms begin, tiny spots may appear inside the mouth. Three to five days later, a red rash will appear which will begin at the hairline and spread downwards to the neck, abdomen, arms, legs and feet. When the rash appears, the fever may increase. The incubation period for the measles virus is 7 to 14 days.
Measles is spread through droplet infection when an infected person coughs or sneezes into the air. The virus can last on surfaces for up to two hours. Infected persons can spread the virus for four days before and up to four days after the rash appears. 90% of persons who are not immunized against the measles virus will contract it if they have an encounter with an infected person. The only way to prevent the measles virus is through immunization.
To this end, the Ministry of Health, Agriculture, Sports and Human Services wishes to advise persons traveling to the 2018 FIFA World Cup games who have not been vaccinated, or those who are unsure of their immunization status, to be vaccinated with the Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) and the Yellow Fever vaccine at least two weeks prior to travel.
The vaccines are offered free of charge at the Primary Health Care clinics throughout the TCI.
For further information, please contact the following numbers:
Senior Public Health Nurse (649) 338-5464
Public Health Nurse (Cheshire Hall Medical Center clinic) (649) 338-5474
Public Health Nurse (Blue Hills Community Clinic) (649) 946 5613
Public Health Nurse (Grand Turk) (649) 338-5462
Strengthen your defense against vaccine preventable diseases and let us keep the TCI Vaccine Preventable Disease free!