The Health Bureau (SSM) is set to commence a sample survey on the immunity of measles, opening the application to Filipino domestic helpers. According to a statement, the research is being conducted due to the lack of concrete data on the immune status of these employees – although reports suggest that most have already been vaccinated.
Blood will be collected from the workers this Saturday at the region’s health centers, following a registration process that began yesterday. The report will be released a week after the blood collection.
To date, there have been 11 imported cases and 17 proliferated cases of measles registered in the SAR – representing a record high for the city.
The latest patient, reported last night, is a 32-year-old local resident who visited Bangkok and Pattaya last month. He was previously vaccinated but it is likely that he never acquired the immunity. The SSM says its staff are monitoring the patient’s friends, family and colleagues who accompanied him on the trip.
Prior to last night’s case, the second-most recent recorded infection was a 32-year-old local nurse in the pediatric section of the Conde S. Januário Hospital. The bureau said that an 11-month-old infected baby, who had been to Switzerland and had not yet been vaccinated due to his or her young age, infected the nurse.
The SSM remarked in its statement that “the overwhelming majority of non-resident workers in Macau come from regions where there are epidemic areas of measles, notably in Southeast Asia and South Asia.”
“In this context, SSM decided to carry out a survey of measles antibodies to selected groups of non-resident workers from different countries and regions,” it noted.
The SSM said that, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a total of four Filipino nationals were infected with measles – three of which are imported, while one case was related to the spread of measles in Macau.
Meanwhile, 22 of the infected were not from the Philippines, with the majority of them being from the Macau SAR.
In reply to the Times, the SSM noted that the imported cases originated in mainland China, Malaysia, Switzerland, Taiwan and Nepal.
The bureau said that the study would be extended to other non-resident communities after the initial survey.
In a separate statement, the SSM announced that approximately 200 people are being vaccinated against measles everyday, adding that there are still some 1,000 Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccines in stores as of Sunday.
The bureau said that immunity rates for local residents exceed 95 percent for age groups above two years old.