38 Measles Outbreak Countries Identified
Measles is an ongoing risk worldwide in the summer of 2023, often due to low vaccination rates, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
To alert travelers, the CDC recently reissued and expanded its Level 1 - Practice Usual Precautions, Global Measles Travel Health Notice.
On June 29, 2023, the CDC identified 38 countries with active measles outbreaks, which are declared when the number of cases is higher than expected.
The unfortunate leaders are India (73,536) and Yemen (19,312).
Historically, measles outbreaks in the U.S. are rare, generally related to unvaccinated travelers.
However, in 2019, 1,274 measles cases were confirmed in 31 U.S. states.
This year, the CDC reported 15 measles cases in jurisdictions such as Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, and Utah.
Measles is caused by a highly contagious virus that spreads through the air by direct contact with infectious droplets or by airborne spread when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes.
The measles virus can live for up to two hours in airspace after an infected person leaves an area.
People can spread measles up to four days before and four days after a rash.
Several groups are more likely to suffer from measles complications, including children younger than five years of age, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems, such as leukemia or HIV infection, says the CDC.
The good news is measles is a vaccine-preventable disease, and approved measles vaccines are generally available at health clinics and community pharmacies in the U.S.
Furthermore, the CDC suggests confirming with a healthcare provider international travelers need an extra measles vaccination before visiting an outbreak country.