Consultant Pediatrician Dr. Tracy Evans Gilbert
A local doctor has agreed with US reports that adults who were partially vaccinated against measles as children may be at risk of contracting the highly contagious disease.
According to the US reports, persons born before 1989 may need another booster shot.
Consultant Pediatrician Dr. Tracy Evans Gilbert said adults who did not receive the second dosage of the measles vaccine should do so especially before travelling to locations where there is an outbreak of the disease, such as Ukraine, Madagaskar, some European countries, Brazil or New York in the US.
Jamaica's Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton has said he is concerned that 10 per cent of the island's population is not vaccinated against measles.
Dr. Gilbert said vaccination against measles should be taken seriously since the disease is more contagious than HIV or Ebola. For instance, she said one person with measles could infect 18 other people, whereas Ebola and HIV in the same time would infect two persons.
She noted that the virus circulates in the air or on surfaces for about two hours and can be passed by droplets from a sneeze of cough, or airborne.
Her warning follows Dr. Tufton's assertion that the anti-vaccine movement could be contributing to lower vaccination levels in Jamaica.
Dr. Gilbert said measles can lead to severe complications, especially in children, such as seizures, blindness, deafness, and retardation from encephalitis. Others could later in life develop subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE), which is a rare form of chronic progressive brain inflammation caused by the measles virus.