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Jul 4, 2019

Healthy Living: Pediatrician Tips for Travel

Summer is here. For some families that means travel to other countries, especially the United States. It’s not common to think about outbreaks before checking in at the airport, but given the current context, we spoke to a pediatrician who highly recommends that you do. We find out more in tonight’s Healthy Living.


Marleni Cuellar, Reporting
Whether it’s the addition of the low budget airlines flying in and out of Belize or the new direct routes, but a lot more Belizean families are traveling out of the country for vacation. As you prepare your family for summer trips abroad, pediatrician Doctor Victor Rosado reminds you that there are few things you should be prepared for before you travel.


Dr. Victor Rosado, Pediatrician, Belize Medical Associates

“Do your homework so you bring back just good memories from your trips and not viruses and illness.”


If you’ve been paying attention, you should know that countries across the globe have been facing outbreaks of measles. Just north of us, the United States is battling the largest measles outbreak in thirty years. Near thirty states have confirmed cases, and it continues to spread.


Dr. Victor Rosado

“We haven’t seen a case of measles in Belize I would say in the past 20 years but also it brings a sense a false sense of we’re covered.  In 2019, the US is experiencing more than a thousand cases of measles for this year.”


Doctor Rosado advises that if traveling with your children to the U.S.  Check to ensure that their vaccinations are up to schedule. In Belize, the MMR vaccine, which protects us from measles, is part of the vaccination schedule offered by the ministry of health. A child should receive their first vaccine at one and a booster between four and six.


Dr. Victor Rosado

“Let’s say your child is two years or eighteen months old to put it a bit more complicated. At eighteen months old because of the outbreak what we are recommending is if you’ve had it at one year, you should have it before you travel. So you have two shots prior to going to the U.S. or to another country where there is an outbreak. Your protection then would be upwards of ninety-five percent.”


Marleni Cuellar

“What happens if I have a child less than one year and I want to take them to one of these areas?”


Victor Rosado

Dr. Victor Rosado

“So breastfeeding does confer some immunity. That is why the shot is not given at birth it is given at one years. So if you have a child zero to six months and being breastfed then breastfeeding confers certain immunity. If your child is between six and eleven months then we are recommending that you should get an MMR vaccine if you are to the US or to a country where measles is confirmed.”


It’s not only measles that traveling families need to be mindful of. If you’re heading to countries south of us, then you need to know about yellow fever.


Dr. Victor Rosado

“Yellow fever is a virus, why it’s called yellow fever is that when you get it some ten percent of patients become severely jaundiced and they have a yellow tinge on their skin. It’s a serious illness. The ones who get it have upwards of ten percent mortality rate in certain cases so it is a serious concern not to bring yellow fever virus into the country.   In Panama, Columbia, Guyana, Trinidad, those countries have a yellow fever alert and so to enter these countries you need a yellow fever vaccine.  It’s also important for Belize if you spend more than a week in any of these countries, we in Belize should be concerned that you can bring back the yellow fever virus.  Because of the outbreaks it has taken on some relevance. It is not one of your normal childhood vaccinations. However, we must take into consideration that yellow fever is transmitted by the very same dengue mosquito the same aedes egypti mosquito.”


So, you will need to contact your doctor if you need a yellow fever vaccine. The general advice is to prepare before your travel and take the necessary preventions to stay virus free during and after your summer travel.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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