photo from RNZ

Up to 96% of infants 19 to 35 months old are vaccinated against measles here in Palau and 83% of most adults 20 years and over are also vaccinated according to the report released by the Palau’s Ministry of Health.  80% of first responders such as hospital workers, border control and law enforcement officers are vaccinated as well.

Nevertheless Ministry of Health is urging everyone to check their immunization records to ensure that they have received their full vaccination of MMR Vaccine, especially if they are planning to travel abroad.

Measles virus breakout in neighboring countries in south pacific has claims many lives with Samoa reporting over 70 deaths in few months due to measles epidemic there.  Tonga and Fiji have also reported cases with most recent case reported in Hawaii this week.  Work to contain the virus spread and to immunize people in the infected regions is ongoing and Palau government strongly urges people to check their immunizations before they travel to those areas.

According to press release from the Ministry of Health, measles is highly contagious virus “which spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.”  Measles also display flu-like symptoms such as “high fever, cough, runny nose and pink eye.  A rash also appears 3 to 4 days after the fever starts and usually spreads from head to toe.”

According to World Health Organization, vaccination is the most effective way to prevent measles and recommends 95% vaccination coverage.

Ministry of Health continues to urge parents to check their children’s vaccination records to make sure that they have received the MMR vaccine.  A child must receive two doses of MMR vaccine by the time they are 5 years of age to ensure life-long immunity against measles.

Ministry of Health says it continues to monitor measles outbreak situation and regularly update the public. (L.N. Reklai)