UAE ministry advises travellers to take measles vaccine

UAE ministry advises travellers to take measles vaccine

Dubai - The ministry has an active surveillance system to detect any suspected case of measles.


Asma Ali Zain

Published: Tue 30 Apr 2019, 5:45 PM

Travellers should take the measles vaccine while travelling to countries that are high risk or where an outbreak has been reported recently, said a senior official from the Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap).
Dr Nada Al Marzouqi, director of the preventive medicine department at the ministry, said that travellers should take the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine before travelling.
"In case of any international travel to a country which has a high risk for measles infection or with recent outbreaks, the traveller is highly advised to take MMR vaccine," she told Khaleej Times.
"Especially in cases if there is no proof that the full vaccination with two doses of MMR has been taken," she said.
The ministry has an active surveillance system to detect any suspected case of measles along with mop up activity for the unvaccinated close contacts to any confirmed measles case through provision of MMR vaccine, said Dr Nada.
"Make sure that the person/child immunisation profile is up-to-date," she said. "It is very important to take the recommended two doses of MMR vaccine - the first dose by the age of 12 months and the second by the age of 18 months - according to National Immunisation Programme in the UAE," added Dr Nada.
She also advised all travellers to visit the traveller's health clinics in Primary Healthcare Centres to get updated information, assess the risk and to take the recommended vaccines at least two weeks before the intended travel date.
Dr Fatma Al Attar, family medicine consultant and head of Travellers Clinic team at the ministry, said that the prices of vaccines were lowered on a special order and after a study presented to the Minister of Health and Prevention.
"Our clinics and centres are giving these vaccines at half the price that are available in the private and other government sectors," she said. These services are provided free of charge to all Emiratis and at an affordable price for the UAE residents.
There were 172 confirmed cases of measles by the end of 2018 in UAE.
Measles hit a major milestone as it spread across the US, infecting the most people since the year 2000, when the virus was declared in the US, according to the US Centres for Disease Control.
On Friday, US President Donald Trump also urged Americans to protect themselves with the vaccination.
Over recent months, spikes in case numbers have also occurred in countries with high overall vaccination coverage, including Israel, Thailand and Tunisia, as the disease has spread fast among clusters of unvaccinated people.
Measles, one of the most contagious diseases, recognised for its rash, can also cause pneumonia, brain swelling, and death.
Get that shot
Travelling can be fun, but you could be susceptible to diseases, especially the ones that are not common at home. That could be a real pain, literally. Vaccinations are here for a reason, and therefore it's important to spend the time and the money to protect yourself and the family. Remember, immunisation can save lives, so go for it.

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