by Linda Straker
- Grenada stepping up surveillance at ports of entry to ensure nation remains measles free
- Measles vaccine available at all government clinics, at no charge
- 95% vaccination rate for citizens
Dr George Mitchell has confirmed that Grenada is stepping up surveillance at ports of entry to ensure the nation remains measles free, following recent news that there have been increasing cases of measles in Europe and some Latin American nations.
“We already held a session with frontline workers at the Maurice Bishop International Airport and will hold more sessions with frontline workers at other ports of entries. These are the people who meet visitors first. We are building their awareness about the sign and symptoms of measles so the necessary action can be taken if there is a need,” said Mitchell.
“Currently we have a 95% vaccination rate for citizens and those who are not sure of their status and want to get vaccinated should check a doctor or any health clinic, it given for free; that 5% who don’t have the vaccine are persons who are refusing for religious grounds and other personal reasons,” he said.
The last known measles cases were more than 2 decades ago.
Dr Shawn Charles, Epidemiologist in the Ministry of Health says like with all disease personal prevention and protection is important and it’s his hope that Grenada will reach the 100% target for measles. “One of the biggest challenges we have currently and it’s not just in Grenada are the persons who are using social media platforms to spread misinformation about vaccines. Most of the information online from these anti-vaccine messages are false and usually not based on scientific research and persons are believing it,” he said.
“The wider implication is that more and more persons are refusing vaccination which can build up their immune system to avoid some of these diseases which were at one time seen as under control worldwide,” he said.
Reiterating the call for persons to get the measles vaccination, Charles said that getting vaccinated is the only sure way the disease will not spread. “The vaccine is available at all government clinics, there is no charge for it, all a person needs to do is walk in and request it, the healthcare provider will be more than pleased to administer it,” he said.
Measles appears on the body around 10 to 14 days after a person is exposed to the virus. The signs and symptoms include Fever, dry cough, runny nose, sore throat, conjunctivitis and a skin rash that starts on the face.