Travelers urged to get vaccinated for Rio Olympics

The Public Health Department is advising Cayman residents who plan to attend the Summer Olympic Games in Brazil to get vaccinated against measles and rubella.

Health officials say those attending the games, including athletes, delegation members, the media and spectators, should get their vaccinations at least two weeks before departure.

The Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro are Aug. 5 to 21; the Paralympics are Sept. 7 to 18.

In addition to rubella and measles vaccines, travelers may also require inoculation against yellow fever, Acting Medical Officer of Health Samuel Williams-Rodriguez said.

“As the games are in a few weeks’ time, we are making a special call to those persons who plan to travel but have not yet been vaccinated to do so with immediate effect,” he said in a press release.

While there has been much international concern over the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which is endemic in Brazil, there is no vaccine yet for that virus. According to a press release issued by the Department of Public Health, at least 104 countries reported measles cases in 2015.

“Officials are concerned that the easy access and frequency of air travel will put all non-immune persons at risk for infectious diseases and could re-introduce the viruses in the Americas,” the release states.

All travelers older than six months should be vaccinated against measles and rubella, preferably with the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, the official stated.

Travelers to Brazil are advised to contact the Public Health Clinic on 244-2648 or Faith Hospital on 948-2243 for an appointment, or to consult their physician to seek necessary vaccinations and travel advice.