Expanding Measles Outbreaks in Many Countries
While all the World Health Organization (WHO) regions remain committed to measles elimination, no region has achieved and sustained elimination targets of 95%.
And there have been significant decreases in measles-containing vaccine (MCV) coverage during the recent pandemic.
Among the WHO regions, the Southeast Asia Region faced the most significant decrease in first-dose MCV coverage (from 94% to 86%) between 2019 and 2021.
None of the WHO regions have recovered since 2019.
The U.S. CDC identified the Top 10 Countries with measles outbreaks in 2022. This list is led by India, with 9,489 cases as of November 23, 2022.
Measles outbreaks can happen in areas where people may be unvaccinated or under-vaccinated, including the United States.
For example, only 81% of children in the U.S. received their MCV in 2021, the lowest coverage reported since 2008. Worldwide 25 million children are vulnerable to measles.
And according to recent reports from Columbus, Ohio, localized measles outbreaks in 46 unvaccinated people are occurring in late 2022.
To forewarn international travelers, the CDC issued a Watch - Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions regarding the global measles outbreak.
The CDC says to be mindful that destinations reporting measles outbreaks are not the only places where the infection is a risk. Measles can also spread in airports and on public transportation.
The measles virus spreads from person to person by breathing, coughing, or sneezing.
Vaccination with an MCV is the best way to ensure you are protected.
Be sure you and your travel companions (infants six months of age and older, children, and adults) are fully protected against measles before overseas travel.
You are also protected if you have laboratory confirmation of a past measles infection or were born before 1957.
If you are unsure if you or your travel companions are fully protected against measles, schedule an appointment to see a healthcare provider at least one month before traveling so that you have enough time to get vaccinated.
There are three MCVs available in the U.S., generally offered at clinics and pharmacies.
Vax-Before-Travel publishes fact-checked, research-based travel vaccine information manually curated for mobile readers.