Fever, a runny nose, coughing and rashes: those are a few of the common symptoms of measles – now turning up regularly in the USA where there is a
measles outbreak. According to 'Reuters', over 123 people are infected in California and most cases are linked to the outbreak at the Disneyland theme
park in December. Now, how does this affect us? Well according to Primary Health Care Coordinator Dr. Javier Zuniga, we are at risk but measures are in
place to prevent the transfer of this disease to Belize.
Dr. Javier Zuniga - Primary Health Care Coordinator
"The problem is that a lot of people has this mentality that if they get the measles vaccine, that their children will have autism. And that is the
association some of the people in the United States have and that notion is false. So not because your child gets the measles vaccine means that your
child will have autism. So they’re a lot of groups in the US - minority group, like the Mennonites and some others, they refuse to give their children
this vaccine. Now this is the problem that arise, you have an outbreak of measles. We are vulnerable as well, remember we not only have a lot of
Belizeans living in the US, but we have a lot of tourist who come from the US as well, more than likely from the California region as well. So yes, we
are at risk, but again we're always doing surveillance at the clinics, we do surveillance also at the airports. If we suspect that someone might have
the symptoms of measles, then we would recommend for them to assist medical facilities as soon as possible to get the right treatment.”
Belize hasn’t had a case of measles since 1991. Vaccines are available at all public health clinics.