Health officials in Brazil have warned of ongoing measles outbreaks in the northern states of Amazonas and Roraima, both located along the border with Venezuela from which the disease is being imported amid a surge of migration.
According to the Brazilian Ministry of Health, as of July 17, 444 cases had been confirmed in Amazonas, where another 2529 cases remained under investigation. In Roraima 216 cases had been confirmed and 160 others still under investigation. Several dozen cases have also been reported in total and the southern states of Rio Grande do Sul, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo, as well as one case in Rondônia. Authorities have implemented public health measures, including vaccination campaigns, to prevent further spread of the disease.
According to humanitarian officials, more than a million Venezuelans have fled the country over the past 15 months, with a large percentage taking refuge in Colombia and Brazil. The migrant crisis is expected to worsen throughout 2018 as Venezuela's economy continues to falter.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that typically affects mostly children. It is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth, or throat of infected persons. Symptoms of measles are usually a high fever, which begins approximately ten 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 the course of about three days, the rash spreads, eventually reaching the hands and feet. The rash lasts for five to six days and then fades. On average, the rash appears 14 days after exposure to the virus (within a range of seven to 18 days). A vaccine is available.
Potentially affected individuals are advised to ensure their measles vaccination is up to date (including booster shots) and to contact their doctor with any questions or concerns. Anyone experiencing the abovementioned symptoms is urged to seek immediate medical attention.
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