Although there have been no recorded cases of measles in Palau, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has urged the public to follow-up on their immunization records to make sure they had received proper vaccination as reports of measles outbreak are high in neighboring countries.

In a press statement sent to the media, the MOH said that the country is taking precautionary measures after the World Health Organization (WHO) alerted health departments of the Pacific Island Countries on the increase of measles outbreak in the Asia-Pacific region.

The MOH encouraged the public to check if they had received their Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine (MMR Vaccine).

The ministry also asked the parents to make sure that their children had received their MMR vaccine, adding that children should receive two doses of the vaccine before turning five years old to ensure immunity to measles.

Those who are planning to travel abroad are also advised by the ministry to review their immunization records.

The MOH said it will continue to monitor measles situation in the region to provide updates to the public.

As of April, WHO revealed that measles cases around the globe rose to 300% in the first three months of 2019 compared to the same period last year.

WHO reported that current measles outbreak includes the Philippines, one of Palau’s closest neighbors. Other countries who are experiencing the current outbreak are the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Myanmar, Sudan, Thailand and Ukraine which are said to be causing many deaths especially among young children.

WHO also reported that even in countries with high overall vaccination coverage like the United States, Israel, Thailand, and Tunisia, increase in case numbers have also occurred.

Over recent months, spikes in case numbers have also occurred in countries with high overall vaccination coverage, including the United States of America as well as Israel, Thailand, and Tunisia, as the disease has spread fast among clusters of unvaccinated people.

According to WHO, measles is among the world’s most contagious diseases.

The MOH’s Communicable Diseases Unit (CDU) offers MMR vaccine shots on Mondays and Wednesdays from 7:30am to 4:30pm and on Fridays from 7:30am to 11:30am. (By Rhealyn C. Pojas)