Here’s How The Recent Measles Outbreak Could Affect U.S. Travelers

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The Centers for Disease Control has reported a recent global measles outbreak that travelers should know about.

According to a recent travel warning from the CDC, the majority of measles cases in the United States occur in unvaccinated U.S. residents who become caught the virus during international travel.

Some of the countries currently having measles outbreaks include the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Ghana, Turkey, Nigeria, and Indonesia, among others.

Because of this, the CDC recommends that travelers practice usual precautions when traveling, but should also know the status of the virus in the country they are visiting. Some destinations might be at higher risk of measles spread.

The Symptoms

Measles is a “highly contagious virus that lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person,” according to the CDC. It is most often spread through coughing and sneezing and can live for up to two hours on surfaces or in the air.

Symptoms of the virus include high fever, a rash, runny nose, and watery eyes. It can lead to complications like pneumonia and even death. High-risk populations like children under five, people with compromised immune systems, and pregnant women are more likely to experience complications from the virus.

The CDC says the best way to ensure protection from the virus is through a vaccination.

Vaccination for Protection

Travelers should be fully vaccinated before international travel and can check with their doctor if they are unsure of their vaccination status.

The CDC recommends checking the vaccination status at least six weeks before travel to make sure there’s ample time in case additional vaccinations or doses are needed.

For small children, even those under age one, the CDC recommends vaccinating them before travel or avoiding travel until after their complete measles vaccination.

Fully vaccinated is defined as having the appropriate complete dose at least two full weeks before travel.

While the CDC has not labeled the measles outbreak as a reason to avoid travel, travelers should be fully vaccinated before leaving the United States.

Also, if travelers get sick with any of the symptoms previously mentioned, the CDC recommends seeking medical attention as soon as possible, especially if they are unvaccinated.