Press Release

Ministry of Health & Social Development
BVI Health Services Authority
Release Date:
Wednesday, 5 June 2024 - 2:36pm

Acting Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Ronald Georges has said that the Ministry of Health and Social Development is being proactive to avoid measles outbreak in the Territory.

Dr. Georges said that a number of stakeholders meetings have been held following the recent discovery of two cases of the disease in the Turks and Caicos Islands in early May. He said a measles update WebEx is also scheduled for June 11 to ensure the Territory’s readiness to prevent any transmission.

Dr. Georges said, “On May 21, we held initial meetings with public sector pediatricians, public health nurses, and infection control practitioners to plan a response strategy.  An additional meeting was held on May 31 with the Education and Social Development departments to address concerns around measles and communicable diseases in schools and daycares.”

The Acting CMO said the WebEx meeting scheduled for Tuesday, June 11 at 7:00 p.m. will focus on clinical presentations, information about treatment and complications of measles, public health requirements, immunisation, infection control, surveillance and reporting protocols that have been put in place. The session will also be simulcast via a LIVE on Government’s Facebook page.

“The introduction of measles in the region is concerning and the outbreak in the Turks and Caicos Islands is a wakeup call to the entire region,” Dr. Georges stated.   He added that compounded risk will come due to the upcoming cricket world cup, which will bring thousands of visitors to the region including from regions with poor immunisation coverage.

Measles is an extremely infectious disease with a single case potentially giving rise to 15 to 20 secondary cases.  A single dose of MMR vaccine is 95% effective in preventing clinical measles and 92% effective in preventing secondary cases among household contacts. 

The disease usually presents as an influenza like illness with 2 to 4 days of viral symptoms before appearance of rash.  The rash of measles usually starts around the face and behind the ears, then further expands across the body until it becomes a generalised red rash lasting 3 to 7 days and fades gradually. 

 Childhood vaccines are available from all pediatricians in the Territory and through the BVI Health Services Authority Primary Health Care clinics.

The Ministry of Health and Social Development is committed to improving the health of the people of the Virgin Islands.


Natasha Lettsome-Humphrey

Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health/Social Development
Telephone: 468-2286