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Published on November 09, 2016. Last modified on February 28, 2019

Making Travel Plans? Make Sure You're Immunizied Against Measles

Public Health Departments Urge Vaccination Before International Travel

Post Date:04/29/2019

People planning international travel should ensure they have already received the recommended two doses of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Nationwide as of today, there have been 704 cases of measles reported in 2019, the highest number since 1994. Nearly all these cases have been linked to international travel by unvaccinated people. These travelers then spread the disease to unvaccinated populations in the U.S.

f you are planning a trip, protect yourself against diseases that are more common in the country you are visiting. Measles is still common in parts of Europe, Asia, India, the Pacific, South America, and Africa. Countries experiencing large outbreaks currently include the Philippines, Israel, Brazil, Japan, and the Ukraine. “Measles is a very serious disease. Thankfully, there is a safe, effective, and widely available vaccine that keeps you protected for life,” said Dr. Edward Moreno, Monterey County Health Officer. “It is very important that you talk with your medical provider about travel immunizations at least 4 to 6 weeks before traveling to make sure you and your family are protected.”

Vaccination is the best protection against measles. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends two doses of MMR vaccine for everyone: the first dose at 12-15 months of age and the second dose at 4-6 years of age. For those traveling internationally with a baby older than 6 months but younger than 12 months, when infants usually receive their first measles vaccine, the CDC recommends that the baby receive an early dose of vaccine. Adults traveling internationally should also get vaccinated for measles if they did not receive two doses of vaccine as a child. Measles immunizations are available at your healthcare provider, local pharmacy, or health clinic.

Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, up to 90% of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected. A person with measles can spread the disease to others even before they have any symptoms. Measles symptoms start 7 to 21 days after being exposed to someone who is contagious with measles. Common symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, and a rash. Infants and young children who get measles are at risk of serious complications.

If you are unsure of your immunization status or think you may have had contact with someone with measles, consult with your medical provider. If you develop symptoms of measles, it is very important to call ahead to any medical facility before going there and tell them that you may have been exposed to measles so that the facility can take measures to protect other patients and visitors.

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