Health Ministry steps up Public Health Surveillance for Measles

The content originally appeared on: NBC SVG

The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment says it has intensified its our public health surveillance in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

This is light of the recently confirmed cases of measles in Turks and Caicos (TCI), and the expected increase in visitors to St Vincent and the Grenadines within the next few months, from places such as the USA, Europe, Nepal and others who have confirmed and active cases of measles.

The Ministry says Measles is a highly contagious illness and can spread very easily to others. It is caused by a virus found in the nose and throat of an infected child or adult. When someone with measles coughs, sneezes or talks, infectious droplets spray into the air, where other people can breathe them in.

The virus remains active and contagious in the air or on infected surfaces for up to two (2) hours. Measles can cause severe disease, complications affecting the lungs and brain, and even death. Measles can affect anyone but is most common in children.

Signs and symptoms of measles usually begin 10–14 days after exposure to the virus.

One of the most common signs of measles is a prominent rash, which is the most visible symptom that may appear on the face and upper neck from about 3 to 5 days after onset.

Persons at risk include children; adults older than 30; persons within the hospitality industry; pregnant women, and those with pre-existing conditions.

The Ministry of Health says as of 23rd May, 2024, there have been no confirmed cases of measles in St Vincent and the Grenadines since its elimination over 30 years ago.