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Ministry of Health Issues a Measles Alert for the General Public

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#TurksandCaicos#Measles, February 15th 2024 – The Ministry of Health and Human Services wishes to advise the public to remain alert for the signs and symptoms of measles. While there are no cases of measles in the Turks and Caicos, we are still in the winter tourist season and during this time, it is easy for measles to be imported from other regions which still have very high incidences of cases. Reports of January 24th 2024 reveals that the Region of the Americas had reported over twenty-nine (29) cases of Measles in four countries, twenty-eight (28) of these cases were imported from other regions.

Measles is a highly infectious disease which is accompanied by a rash with fever and at least one of the following three symptoms: coryza (runny nose), cough and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The rash starts behind the ears and then spreads to the head and neck, followed by the rest of the body. Other symptoms include small greyish white spots with a bluish-white center inside the mouth, cheek and throat and body aches. Measles is spread through droplets in the air which are generated by the coughs and sneezes of infected persons. Measles virus can live for up to two hours in the air where the infected person coughed or sneezed. If other people breathe the contaminated air or touch the infected surface, then touch their eyes, noses, or mouths, they can become infected. Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, up to 90% of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected. 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.

 

Most measles-related deaths are caused by complications associated with the disease and serious complications are more common in children under the age of 5, or adults over the age of 30. The most serious complications include blindness, encephalitis (an infection that causes brain swelling), severe diarrhoea and related dehydration, ear infections, or severe respiratory infections such as pneumonia. Severe measles is more likely among individuals whose immune systems have been weakened. Women infected while pregnant are also at risk of severe complications and the pregnancy may end in miscarriage or preterm delivery. People who recover from measles are immune for the rest of their lives.

 

Unvaccinated young children are at highest risk of measles and its complications, including death. Unvaccinated pregnant women are also at risk. Any non-immune person (who has not been vaccinated or was vaccinated but did not develop immunity) can become infected.

 

No specific antiviral treatment exists for measles virus.

Severe complications from measles can be avoided through supportive care that ensures good nutrition, adequate fluid intake and treatment of dehydration with WHO-recommended oral rehydration solution. This solution replaces fluids and other essential elements that are lost through diarrhoea or vomiting. Antibiotics should be prescribed to treat eye and ear infections, and pneumonia.

 

The number one way of preventing measles is through vaccination with the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine. The measles vaccine has been in use for over 50 years. It is safe and highly effective. It is offered free of cost at all primary health care facilities within the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The Turks and Caicos Islands has maintained high immunization coverage, over 90%, in the MMR vaccine. The last reported case of measles in the TCI was in 1991. Although, we have good immunity in the TCI, persons who are not protected are at an increased risk of contracting the virus. This includes persons who have never been vaccinated and those who have not completed their 2-dose schedule. The TCI welcomes over one million visitors annually from all over the world; this creates a risk for importation and re-introduction of measles into the country.

 

To be considered fully protected against measles, individuals must have two doses of the MMR vaccine. The TCI offers this at ages 1 and 2 years. Parents who are uncertain about their child’s immunization status should bring their take-home vaccine cards into any primary care clinic to have it checked. Persons who are uncertain of their immunization status may also visit the clinic to determine their status and be vaccinated if necessary. If you are concerned that you might have been exposed, please contact your health care provider. Measles vaccines protect both you and the wider community.

 

For more information, please contact the Primary Health Care Department Public Health Nurses on the following telephone numbers: 338-5474; 338-5470 or 946-5613 or, you may contact your local health care provider.

 

Keep up to date by checking the Ministry of Health’s Facebook page on https://www.facebook.com/tcihealthpromotions.

 

Help us keep TCI measles free, protect yourself and your loved ones from measles!

 

Caribbean News

Yellow Fever Outbreak in Region and Beyond, Travellers Warned

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer 

 

#YellowFever#Caribbean, April 10, 2024 – Reports say there is an outbreak of Yellow fever in the Caribbean according to the Department of Health and official government advice website, Travel Health Pro, and travelers are being warned to be vigilant. The authorities say the outbreak is also in parts of Africa, and Central and South America.

Guyana and Peru so far have seen two cases. Brazil reports the disease in monkeys, an indication that it is spreading across the ccounty. Colombia has seen 3 cases.

In South America, between January 1 and March 18 2024, there have been seven confirmed cases, four fatal.

Yellow fever is spread by mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti (Linnaeus) and can cause potentially fatal hemorrhagic illness. Fortunately, it can be prevented with vaccination and so the World Health Organisation (WHO) is advising people ages nine months and older, traveling to the affected areas, to get vaccinated.

 

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Caribbean News

Four Year Old Beheaded Trinidad 

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer 

#Homicide#FourYearOld#TrinidadandTobago, April 9, 2024 – Trinidad was left in shock and sorrow with the beheading of a four year old girl, reportedly by her stepfather, early Tuesday April 9, at her home in Arouca, a town in the East-West Corridor of Trinidad and Tobago. The Police informed that when they arrived on the scene, the head of the little girl, identified as Amarah Lallitte, was in one room and her body in another.  

 

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Caribbean News

CariSECURE 2.0 Equipping Youth to Take Charge Against Crime

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Bridgetown, 9 April, 2024 – Amidst rising concerns over citizen security in the Caribbean, a deliberate effort is being made to empower the region’s youth to step into leadership roles and drive change from within. Through a free, online course by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), youth will be equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to tackle pressing security challenges head-on.

The “Youth on the way to Peace and Security” course is being launched regionally as part of CariSECURE 2.0 (CS2.0), which works to reduce youth involvement in crime and trafficking in persons (TIP) in the region. It will run from 16 April – 3 May, with support from InfoSegura.

This course comes at a crucial time when security issues like crime and violence are on the rise in the Caribbean. By the end of the course, participants will have improved understanding of regional security challenges, enhanced leadership skills, and greater opportunity to network with peers and experts around the region, empowering them to take leadership roles in regional conversations and citizen security activities.

Maia Hibben, Project Manager for CariSECURE 2.0, underscored the significance of engaging young people in matters of citizen security.  ” Throughout the life of our project, input from young people has been invaluable,” she said. “Whether it be helping to craft national workplans to reduce crime, developing a roadmap for youth empowerment in the Caribbean, or creating digital solutions to improve crime reporting as planned for this year, youth have proven that their perspectives are indispensable. This course is just another way for youth to strengthen their skills to address regional security challenges.”

By building capacity of young leaders to address security challenges and promote social cohesion, the course contributes directly to Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 16, towards Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions.

The course will offer lessons in the current mechanisms that impact youth decision making, insight into youth citizen security challenges in the Caribbean, and give practical guidance on the positive roles participants can play in conflict resolution, with complementary webinars, podcasts and practical resources tailored to the English-speaking Caribbean. It is free of charge and open to participants from all backgrounds, regardless of age, nationality, or level of experience. A certificate will be awarded upon completion.

Register for the course by 15 April: escuelavirtualpnud.org/login/index.php?lang=en

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