CDC urges measles vaccine for European travelers

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Since January 2016, more than 14,000 cases of measles have been reported in Europe.
Since January 2016, more than 14,000 cases of measles have been reported in Europe.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a reminder for people who are traveling to Europe and other international destinations to protect themselves against measles.

Since January 2016, more than 14,000 cases of measles have been reported in Europe, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDPC). Within the past year, 35 people in Europe have died from measles, per the World Health Organization.

Fifteen European countries have reported measles cases in 2017:  Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

“Most measles cases in the United States are the result of international travel,” said Gary Brunette, MD, MPH, chief of the CDC's travelers' health program.

The CDC has issued travel health notices for 5 European countries that have had measles outbreaks since November 2016. The most recent was for France on July 7; the others are for Belgium, Germany, Italy, and Romania.

Anyone without measles protection should receive the vaccine before any international travel, the CDC recommends. Travelers are advised to see a healthcare professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before any international travel.

Patients with measles typically have a rash, high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. Other symptoms include ear infection, diarrhea, or a serious lung infection such as pneumonia. Although severe cases are rare, measles can cause swelling of the brain and death.

Reference

  1. CDC reminds travelers to Europe: Protect against measles. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. July 19, 2017.
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