Posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2018. 5:03 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: The Ministry of Health held a special session with the media today to discuss the various ongoing activities in preparing the national response for any positive cases of measles reported in the country.
The MOH is producing educational material for dissemination in schools, as well as partnering with various entities to issue public service announcements. The Ministry is also working on a vaccination drive for children under ten years old and front-line workers who come in contact with tourists such as hospitality workers and customs officers.
Maternal and Child Health Technical Adviser for the MOH, Dr. Natalia Beer, explained that there have been two positive cases reported in the region, one in Guatemala, and the other in Antigua. Both cases were imported from outside the region. Beer said that the Latin American and Caribbean Region is susceptible to incoming cases given the level of tourists that visit the region annually and that Belize is no exception to that reality.
Beer noted that there hasn’t been a positive case of measles in Belize since 1991, but that any positive case would constitute an outbreak for Belize.
“If we get one positive case we will have to visit that home and every home within three miles to ensure that everyone has been vaccinated. That requires a lot of time and a lot of resources,” Beer said.
She went on to say that the ministry has sent 12 samples to a laboratory in Mexico for testing to confirm whether or not they test positive for measles, but the sending was just a matter of protocol because one case is highly suspicious.
The MOH emphasized that there is no cause for alarm and that all the activities are only preparatory in an attempt to prevent an outbreak.
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