The Ministry of Health is appealing to Barbadians travelling to Europe, including those who are going to London for the Olympics, to ensure they are vaccinated against measles and rubella. This is in light of reported sporadic outbreaks of these diseases in Europe and the UK.
According to a health alert issued by the Pan American Health Organisation: “All residents of this region [Caribbean and the Americas] who plan to travel to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, including participating teams, should be protected against measles and rubella”.
The health alert pointed out that more than 31,000 cases of measles were reported in Europe in 2011, and that some deaths had occurred among both adolescents and adults as a result of the disease.
Persons who are planning to travel should contact their doctor or nearest polyclinic as soon as possible, but at least two weeks prior to their date of departure, so that they can receive advice as to whether they are already covered for measles and rubella or whether they will need to be vaccinated.
During travel or upon their return, they should also look for the following symptoms: fever, rash, cough, runny nose or pink eye.
Travellers who think they may have contracted measles or rubella should avoid close contact with others and seek urgent medical advice.