Vaccinations required for Olympics

(GIS): The Public Health Department reminds residents travelling to the 2016 Olympic Games to get vaccinated, especially against measles and rubella, at least two weeks before departure.

Olympic flagThe Olympic Games are being held in Brazil from August 5 to 21, and the Paralympics from 7 to 18 September.

“All residents of the Cayman Islands travelling to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil, including delegation members and media personnel, should be fully vaccinated against measles and rubella prior to their travel,” said Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Samuel Williams-Rodriguez.

Additionally, travellers to the Olympic Games may require vaccination against yellow fever.

“As the games are in a few weeks’ time, we are making a special call to those persons who plan to travel but have not yet been vaccinated to do so with immediate effect,” added Dr. Williams-Rodriguez.

During the Olympic Games, it is estimated that more than 500,000 visitors from across the world will travel to join in the events. At least 104 countries had reported measles cases in 2015.

Officials are concerned that the easy access and frequency of air travel will put all non-immune persons at risk for infectious diseases and could re-introduce the viruses in the Americas.

All travellers older than six months should be vaccinated against measles and rubella, preferably with the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine.

In the Cayman Islands, two doses of MMR are customarily given at 15-months-old and again at three to six-years- old. Travellers who are not up to date with their vaccines are at greater risk of contracting these diseases when in close contact with infected persons in countries and locations where the viruses still circulate.

The first sign of measles is usually a high fever which begins about 10 to 12 days after exposure to the virus from a measles case. A runny nose and cough, along with red and watery eyes and small white spots inside the cheeks can develop in the initial stage.

This is followed by a rash on the face and upper neck, eventually reaching the hands and feet. Close contact with other people must be avoided for seven days following onset of rash.

Travellers to Brazil are advised to contact the Public Health Clinic on 244-2648 or Faith Hospital on 948-2243 for an appointment, or to consult their physician to seek necessary vaccination and travel advisory.

In the event that they develop a rash and fever, they should contact a physician immediately and advise of their travel history.

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