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Jamaica need not panic about measles outbreak in USA - Davidson

Featured Head of the School of Public Health & Health Technology at the University of Technology (UTECH) Dr Winston Davidson Head of the School of Public Health & Health Technology at the University of Technology (UTECH) Dr Winston Davidson
KINGSTON, February 5, 2015 - Head of the School of Public Health & Health Technology at the University of Technology (UTECH) Dr Winston Davidson, says despite the outbreak of measles in neighbouring United States, Jamaica can be confident that the epidemic will have no significant effect on this country.

Dr. Davidson says due to strong vaccination programme and health policies, Jamaica is a heavily immunised country, and is reaping the benefits of  policies put in force decades ago.

Speaking on RJR's Beyond the Headlines, news programme, he said all Jamaican health care professionals are "at one on the benefits of immunization."

It is because of that consensus, he said, that there is compulsory immunization in Jamaica, "and that is why we can rest assured that we will not have an outbreak of measles, mumps and rubella in this country, for a long time to come, if we maintain that vigilance and that control."

In the meantime, Jamaica's Chief  Medical Officer, Dr. Marion Bullock DuCasse, is urging parents to ensure that their children get the second dose of  the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine which will fully protect them against the diseases.   

The CMO said although Jamaica has always had about 90 per cent compliance for the first dose of  the vaccine the rate for the second dose is close to about 80 per cent.

Dr. Bullock DuCasse explained that normally the second dose for MMR is given at four-to-six years of age, but is now being done at 18 months to ensure full vaccine coverage.

The first MMR vaccine dose is given at 12 months. These vaccines can be accessed, free of  cost, at Health Centres islandwide .

The measles outbreak that began in California continues to swell in the United Sates, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention adding 18 new cases to the official tally on Tuesday.

There are now 102 people in 14 states who have become infected with the extremely contagious virus.

Most of the cases have been linked to several dozen persons who were exposed to the measles virus at Disneyland in California, and were not vaccinated.

Last modified onFriday, 06 February 2015 05:57

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