The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends measles vaccinations for all members of families planning to travel abroad.

Individuals who are not vaccinated for measles before traveling internationally are at increased risk of contracting the disease, which spreads easily through coughing and sneezing. In addition, those who travel unvaccinated have a greater chance of bringing measles back into the United States.

Measles cases are still currently reported in parts of Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands, with nearly 10 million affected each year; 90,000 measles-related mortalities are reported annually. Ninety percent of those in close contact with someone affected will contract the viral infection if they are not immune.

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The CDC feature contains helpful tools to distinguish and prevent the contraction and spread of the highly contagious infection.


  • The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is the most effective method for preventing all 3 diseases.
  • Infants between the ages of 6 and 11 months should be administered 1 dose of MMR vaccine.
  • Children older than 12 months should be administered 2 doses of MMR, which should be given at least 28 days apart.
  • Adolescents and adults who have not had measles or been vaccinated should get 2 doses separated by at least 28 days.
  • Vaccination 4 to 6 weeks before travel is optimal to allow for the body’s vaccine response.

Travel Notices

  • Check the CDC Travel Health Notices for updates and information on measles.
  • If fever and rash are noticed in the 3 weeks following travel return, patients should contact their clinicians and notify them of recent travel abroad.

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“An infected person can also spread measles to others 4 days before the rash even develops,” the CDC reported. “The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from measles is by getting vaccinated.”


Don’t let the measles be your travel souvenir [news release]. Atlanta, GA. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. May 14, 2018. Accessed May 25, 2018.