Measles cases in Singapore on the rise, 116 cases reported this year
Measles vaccination is compulsory by law for all children residing in Singapore as children are at high risk of developing complications...
Measles cases in Singapore are on the rise, the Ministry of Health (MOH) revealed, in a press release on 23 July 2019.
As of 22 July, 116 measles cases have been reported in 2019. 88 of these cases were local and 28 were imported from Bangladesh, Dubai, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
Measles cases in Singapore on the rise
In the last one week:
- 14 measles cases were reported at the MINDSville @ Napiri, a residential home for persons with intellectual disability located at 7 Lorong Napiri.
- 3 cases were reported at S11 Dormitory @ Punggol, a foreign worker dormitory located at 2 Seletar North Link.
There is currently no evidence of community spread from these cases. Nonetheless, MOH has taken precautionary measures to prevent further spread.
These include vaccination of close contacts who do not have proof of vaccination or immunity, and close monitoring of the health of close contacts. All suspected measles cases will be isolated.
No measles-related deaths have been reported in 2019.
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What is Measles
Measles is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by a virus. It causes a total-body skin rash and flu-like symptoms.
The virus spreads easily through direct contact with the saliva or mucus of an infected child or adult, whether through coughing, sneezing or contact with contaminated surfaces.
Common symptoms include:
- Dry cough
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Inflamed eyes (conjunctivitis)
- Tiny white spots with bluish-white centers on a red background found inside the mouth on the inner lining of the cheek — also called Koplik's spots
- A skin rash made up of large, flat blotches that often flow into one another
Symptoms of measles usually start to appear 10 to 12 days after you come into contact with a contagious person. The rash breaks out 3–5 days after symptoms start, sometimes along with a high fever up to 40°C.
The red or reddish-brown rash usually begins as flat red spots on the forehead. It spreads to the rest of the face, then down the neck and torso to the arms, legs, and feet. The fever and rash slowly go away after a few days.
Any treatment involves relieving of symptoms.
Measles patients need to be monitored closely as sometimes it can lead to complications like ear infection, bronchitis. pneumonia, diarrhoea, encephalitis etc.
Measles vaccination is compulsory by law for all children residing in Singapore
The best way to protect kids is to make sure they're immunised against measles. The measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR) or measles-mumps-rubella-varicella vaccine (MMRV) offers protection against the illness.
Measles vaccination is compulsory by law for all children residing in Singapore as children are at high risk of developing complications.
"MOH would like to remind parents to ensure that their children’s measles vaccinations are up to date so as to protect themselves, maintain the high vaccination coverage and prevent community outbreaks locally."
"Adults are also recommended to be vaccinated against measles if they have not been previously vaccinated or lack evidence of immunity," stressed MOH in the press release.
The first dose of MMR vaccine can be given when they are 12 months old. The 2nd dose of MMR can be given between 15-18 months. Following MMR vaccination, some children develop a fever and rash 1 – 2 weeks later or swelling of the glands of the neck after 3 – 4 weeks.
The MMR vaccination is available at polyclinics, private general practitioner clinics and private paediatric clinics. It is fully subsidised for children (Singapore Citizens) at polyclinics. MediSave can also be used at the private general practitioner and private paediatric clinics for both adults and children.
If you are planning a pregnancy, it is advised to be immunised against measles and other contagious diseases that may affect your unborn child.
Here are some precautions recommended by MOH:
- If travelling to areas with measles outbreaks, please check that you are immune to measles, which can be ascertained with a blood test or by receiving a vaccine that protects against measles, such as the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine
- Observe good personal hygiene at all times
- Practise frequent hand washing with soap (e.g. before handling food or eating, after going to toilet, or when hands are dirtied by respiratory secretion after coughing or sneezing)
- Avoid close contact with people who are unwell or showing symptoms of illness
- Wear a mask if having respiratory symptoms such as a cough or running nose
- Cover your mouth with a tissue paper when coughing or sneezing, and dispose the soiled tissue paper in the rubbish bin immediately
- Seek medical attention promptly if feeling unwell