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CDC issues health advisory for measles as international travel increases this summer

SmallBiz-Get Started
Posted at 6:52 PM, Jun 29, 2023

The Centers for Disease Control has issued a health advisory and is reminding public health officials to provide guidance to international travelers about measles prevention and to be on the lookout for local cases this season.

According to the CDC, measles can originate in the United States from anyone who has recently traveled internationally.

Measles remains a common illness in many parts of the world, including Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

The CDC says there have been 16 reported measles cases so far this year in 11 jurisdictions, with 14 of those cases linked to international travel.

Doctors say measles can spread quickly when you're in close contact with an infected person who is coughing or sneezing.

“Measles can be spread a couple different ways. Obviously, if someone coughs or sneezes on you, through direct droplet contact, and then any sort of surfaces. Because it’s so highly contagious, it doesn’t take a lot of exposure in order to contract measles,” said Scott Robertson, MD, President and CEO of Pacific Central Coast Health Centers. “It incubates anywhere for a period of 4 to 7 days before you really start seeing symptoms.”

According to AAA, travel advisors have seen travel steadily increase since 2020 and it now has spiked within the last 6 to 12 months as the global pandemic has come to an end.

While many people are eager to explore the world again, this can be a risk to local residents who have not been vaccinated against measles.

“3.4 million people in Southern California will be taking a trip of 50 miles or more away from home. The vast majority of them, 2.7 million, will be driving somewhere. About 517,000 will fly to their destination and then about 253,000 will take a train, a bus, or even a cruise for this holiday weekend,” said Doug Shupe, Automobile Club of Southern California (AAA) spokesperson.

The CDC states that 9 out of 10 unvaccinated people can develop measles by being around someone who is infected with the virus.

Dr. Robertson says symptoms may include a rash, high fever, cough, red watery eyes, and runny nose.

“If you develop any of these symptoms, it certainly is important that you get evaluated for any sort of diagnostic testing to make sure that you don’t have measles,” he added.

Health officials advise travelers to get vaccinated two weeks before traveling internationally for the best chance of protection.

The CDC highly recommends international travelers get two doses of the MMR vaccine, which can provide 97 percent better protection against measles.