Italy’s Measles Outbreak Approaches 5,000 Cases

Level 1 Travel Alert issued by the CDC due to Italian measles outbreak

vatican city, rome

Italy's health ministry said 4,991 measles cases were reported during 2017, a six-fold increase over 2016, reported the AP.

Italy reported 2,211 measles cases in 2013, 1,674 in 2014, 251 in 2015 and 844 in 2016.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of Italian two-year-olds vaccinated for measles has decreased to approximately 85 percent.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its Level 1 Travel Alert for measles in Italy on January 12, 2018.

CDC recommends that travelers to Italy themselves by making sure they are vaccinated against measles with the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine.

Before departure from the United States, infants (6 through 11 months of age) should have 1 dose of MMR vaccine, and adults and children over 1 year of age should have 2 doses of MMR vaccine separated by at least 28 days.

Additionally, the CDC suggests international travelers verify their last diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, varicella (chickenpox), polio, and influenza vaccination.

Measles virus is highly contagious and can remain so for up to 2 hours in the air or on surfaces. Measles is caused by a virus that is spread through the air by breathing, coughing, or sneezing.

Symptoms of measles are rash, high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes.

Some people may suffer severe complications from measles, including pneumonia (infection of the lungs) and encephalitis (swelling of the brain).

In the United States, most measles cases result from international travel. The disease is brought into the United States by people who get infected in other countries.

In the USA, two approved mumps vaccines, MMR-II and ProQuad, both contain the protection for mumps, as well as protection against measles and rubella.

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides the private sector MMR vaccine prices for general information.

Most pediatricians and pharmacies offer the MMR vaccine, and 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.