Government warns World Cup travellers of measles outbreak

An alert from Cayman’s Government
Information Services is warning people who travelled to the World Cup about an
outbreak of measles in South Africa.

No cases of measles related to
returning travellers have so far been reported in the Cayman Islands.

A number of football fans from
Cayman travelled to South Africa to watch the World Cup, which ended
on 11 July.

The alert was prompted by a report
from Australia of a 24-year-old man who contracted measles after travelling
from Australia to South Africa for the FIFA World Cup, despite being immunised
as a child.

According to the World Health
Organisation fact sheet on the disease, the first sign of measles is usually a
high fever, which begins about 10 to 12 days after exposure to the virus, and
lasts four to seven days. A runny nose, a cough, red and watery eyes, and small
white spots inside the cheeks can develop in the initial stage.

After several days, a rash erupts,
usually on the face and upper neck. Over about three days, the rash spreads,
eventually reaching the hands and feet, and lasts for five to six days. On
average, the rash occurs 14 days after exposure to the virus.

It can be transmitted by an
infected person from four days prior to the onset of the rash to four days
after the rash erupts. The virus remains active and contagious in the air or on
infected surfaces for up to two hours.

As of 28 April this year, 12,227
cases of measles had been confirmed in an outbreak that started in South Africa
in January 2009.

People travelling to South Africa
are advised to get vaccinated against measles.