Knowing about Measles

The recent outbreaks of measles in Taiwan and Japan have aroused wide concern among the public. In fact, measles is still common in many parts of the world, while some developed countries in Europe have witnessed a resurgence of measles as the vaccination rate drops in recent years. According to the data of World Health Organization (as of April 2018), measles is more common in the following countries/areas among the most popular travel destinations for Macao residents:

Southeast Asia

South Asia

Europe

Mainland China

Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, etc.

India, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives

Romania, Greece, Italy, Belgium, France, etc.

Epidemics occur periodically, but recent situation is not serious

 

Whether staying in Macao or traveling to the affected areas, you are advised to observe the following:

  • Do not travel with children who are not fully immune against measles or bring them to places where tourists gather;
  • Receive measles vaccination as needed;
  • Observe respiratory etiquette, do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands;
  • For immunocompromised individuals, avoid visiting crowded places or healthcare facilities;
  • In the event of suspected symptoms, wear a mask and seek medical attention promptly.

 

Knowing More about Measles

Measles: It is caused by a virus called Measles virus, is one of the most highly communicable infectious diseases.

Clinical features: Affected persons will present initially with fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and white spots inside the mouth. This is followed by a red blotchy skin rash 3 to 7 days later, which usually spreads from face to the rest of the body. The rash usually lasts 4 - 7 days, but can persist for up to 3 weeks. In severe cases, lung, gut and brain can get involved and lead to serious consequences or even death.

Communicable period: The patient can pass the disease to other persons from 4 days before to 4 days after appearance of the rash.

Mode of transmission: This can be transmitted airborne by droplet spread or by direct contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected persons, and less commonly, by articles soiled with nasal or throat secretions.

Prevention:

1. Maintain good personal hygiene:

  • Perform hand hygiene frequently, especially before touching the mouth, nose or eyes, after touching public installations such as handrails or door knobs or when hands are contaminated by respiratory secretion after coughing or sneezing. Wash hands with liquid soap and water for at least 20 seconds, then dry with a disposable paper towel or hand dryer. When hands are not visibly soiled, clean them with 70 - 80% alcohol-based handrub as an effective alternative.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with tissue paper when sneezing or coughing. Dispose of soiled tissues into a lidded rubbish bin, then wash hands thoroughly.
  • When having a fever, rash or respiratory symptoms, wear a surgical mask, refrain from work or school, avoid going to crowded places and seek medical advice promptly.
  • Persons infected with measles should stay at home; keep out of Schools till 4 days from the appearance of rash to prevent spread of the infection to non-immune persons.

2. Maintain good environmental hygiene:

  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as furniture, toys and commonly shared items with 1:99 diluted household bleach (mixing 1 part of 5.25% bleach with 99 parts of water), leave for 15 – 30 minutes, and then rinse with water and keep dry. For metallic surface, disinfect with 70% alcohol.
  • Use absorbent disposable towels to wipe away obvious contaminants such as respiratory secretions, and then disinfect the surface and neighbouring areas with 1:49 diluted household bleach (mixing 1 part of 5.25% bleach with 49 parts of water), leave for 15 – 30 minutes and then rinse with water and keep dry. For metallic surface, disinfect with 70% alcohol.
  • Maintain good indoor ventilation. Avoid going to crowded or poorly ventilated public places; high-risk individuals may consider putting on surgical masks while in such places.

3. Immunization:

  • Vaccination against measles is the most effective preventive measure.

Vaccination and immunity status to Measles among the Macao population by year of birth:

 Individuals recommended to get vaccinated

 Individuals who do not need to be vaccinated

  •  Anyone who are 12 months and 18 months of age, when the vaccination is due;
  •  For local residents born before 1970, vaccination is considered unnecessary as most of them have been exposed to the virus and are immune;
  • Anyone aged 18 months to < 18 years who have not completed the two-dose course of measles-containing vaccine;
  • Having previously been exposed to measles, no matter how old he/she is;
  • For adults born in or after 1970 who neither have a history of measles nor received one dose of measles vaccine after the first birthday.
  • Born in or after 1990 who have been vaccinated in accordance with the prevailing Macao Immunization Programme. 

 *Vaccination is free of charge for all local residents, foreign health workers, as well as nursery, kindergarten, primary and secondary school staff. Other persons who are granted the authorization for long-term stay in Macao may receive the vaccine at a charge of MOP50 per dose.

 

*The vaccination service does not apply to tourist.

If you are not sure you have got the jabs on time. You can:

1) You may check your Personal Immunization Record or inquire a health professional at your corresponding Health Centre in person.

2) You can search the website to check your personal vaccination information: https://www.ssm.gov.mo/myhealth/public.html

*What are the contraindications to measles vaccine?

Measles vaccine is a live vaccine, which cannot be given to pregnant women; females of childbearing age should also avoid pregnancy for 3 months after vaccination. Besides, people who have had severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine, with immunodeficiency or receiving immunosuppressive therapies, should not be vaccinated with measles vaccine. If in doubt, please consult a health professional.