Guam – A measles outbreak has been reported in central Philippines and while the outbreak is hundreds of miles from Guam, Public Health points out that it is a lot closer than one may think.
What does a measles outbreak in the Philippines have to do with Guam?
Well, according to Department of Public Health and Social Services Acting Director Linda Denorcey when it comes to health it could be a potential risk for island residents.
“We do have frequent travelers between Guam and the United States or the Philippines so its really really possible that the disease brought here. She continued, this is an ongoing outbreak in the Philippines and as of February 11, 2019, their health department reported about 4,300 measles cases, about 70 dead and that’s from the time period of January 1, 2019 to February 9, 2019.
As of today that death toll has risen above 100 in the Philippines.
Denorcey says that most of the cases were reported in metro Manila, central Luzon and Calabarzon and northern Mindanoa.
With this in mind and the because travel to and from central Manila and Guam occurs on a daily basis Guam residents should practice caution and take preventative measures to reduce the chances of contracting measles.
“For travelers we are recommending that prior to traveling that they’re vaccinated for the flu and there is a combination of not only the measles vaccination but also with mumps and rubella,” said Denorcey.
Denorcey recommends that vaccinations are administered at least 4 to 6 weeks prior to traveling.
Even if your not traveling remember that many visitors come and go, but it only takes one infected individual coming in contact with an unvaccinated individual for the disease to spread.
“We are encouraging everyone to please review their shot record of themselves and their children. Make certain that they are all up to date traveling especially if not please call your family provider and also we wanted to say that the vaccine dose for children they should receive two dose, the first dose at fifteen months and then the second dose at four to six years,” said Denorcey.
Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease which is spread through the air for example through coughing and sneezing. Symptoms usually develop 10 to 12 days after exposure and include fever, cough, runny nose and inflamed eyes. If you experience these symptoms please see your primary doctor.