Measles can be a lesser-known risk for travelers

Reuters Health Information: Measles can be a lesser-known risk for travelers

Measles can be a lesser-known risk for travelers

Last Updated: 2015-10-09

By Kathryn Doyle

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Measles is still a risk for travelers, regardless of destination, and vaccination remains the best way to prevent it, according to travel health experts.

Data from 57 travel and tropical medicine clinics on six continents showed 94 reported measles cases between 2000 and 2014, with two-thirds after 2010. Measles affected tourists, business travelers, and people visiting friends or family.

"We think measles is definitely something people should be concerned about, specifically getting vaccinated against," said lead author Dr. Mark J. Sotir, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, told Reuters Health.

"There have been reports of people getting measles in airports and on airplanes," as well as in destination countries, Sotir told Reuters Health.

The year with the most cases was 2011, when 11 were reported in Asia, eight in Europe, four in Africa, and one in the Middle East or Caribbean.

Over the whole study period, exposures were reported in 30 countries, most often in Thailand, followed by India, Singapore, Nepal, China, and the Philippines.

Almost 90% of measles infections happened to adults, the researchers reported online September 23 in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Although the measles vaccine has greatly reduced the number of cases, there are still 20 million cases annually worldwide, Dr. Sotir said.

There have been recent outbreaks in Germany, France, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, the authors write.

Declining vaccination rates are a "broad public health issue," coauthor Dr. Douglas H. Esposito, also of the CDC, told Reuters Health.

"We feel that people should probably be evaluated by a healthcare provider four to six weeks before they go," Dr. Sotir said.

"We recommend people be up to date on routine vaccinations as well as destination-specific vaccinations," like those for tropical climates, Dr. Esposito said.


Clin Infect Dis 2015.

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