72 Measles-Related Deaths In the Americas During 2018

International travelers bring measles into the USA

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The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on September 21, 2018, that 6,629 measles cases, including 72 deaths, from 11 countries have been reported in North, Central, and South America.

The vast majority of these measles cases are from Venezuela, which reported 4,605 cases, and 62 deaths. Measles was declared an epidemic in Venezuela by the PAHO on August 24, 2018.   

Additionally, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  issued a Travel Alert Level 3 on May 17th. 

This Level 3 Alert means USA citizens should avoid visiting Venezuela.

Separately, Brazil recorded 1,735 cases, including 10 deaths. The measles strains circulating in Brazil and Venezuela are identical, PAHO said. In response to this situation, the CDC issued a Level 1 Travel Alert for Brazil on August 28th.

And, the United States has recorded 124 measles cases to the PAHO during 2018.   

The CDC says 22 states and the District of Columbia have confirmed measles cases as of August 11, 2018.

Moreover, the CDC says there is NO current multi-state measles outbreak in the United States.

The number of reported measles cases in the U.S. during 2018 is similar to recent years and in the expected range. Some recent media reports misinterpreted data regularly issued by CDC surveillance teams.

But. the measles virus is still common in many parts of the world.

Measles, also known as morbilli, is an infection of the respiratory system, immune system, and skin caused by measles virus, a paramyxovirus of the genus Morbillivirus. 

Recommended:

Every year, unvaccinated people get measles while they are abroad bringing the disease into the United States and then spread it to others. 

The CDC says vaccinations offer the best protection from most infectious diseases.

Both the CDC and the PAHO said all member states should emphasize measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination campaigns to achieve 95% coverage rates, especially among infants.

This means, if you must travel to Venezuela, Brazil or any country experiencing an infectious disease outbreak, you should schedule a pre-trip vaccination review with a doctor nurse or pharmacist. 

The CDC says to make an appointment with a travel vaccine specialist at least 4 to 6 weeks before departure to enable the immunization process to be completed.

Travel vaccine specialists can be contacted at Vax-Before-Travel.

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides private sector vaccine prices for general information. Vaccine discounts can be found here.

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects, says the CDC. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.