Measles in South America

Updated: March 06, 2019

Note:

Original publication date: April 25, 2018

Current situation

A large measles outbreak in ongoing in Venezuela, with over 6200 confirmed cases reported since June 2017. Cases have been reported in all states and the Capital District.

There is also currently a large outbreak of measles in Brazil. More than 10,300 confirmed cases have been reported since the outbreak began in 2018. The majority of cases have been reported in the states of Amazonas and Roraima.

In 2019, outbreaks of measles have also been reported in Chile and Colombia.

About measles

Measles is a highly contagious disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

Early symptoms of measles include small, white spots inside the mouth and throat. After 3 to 7 days, a red blotchy rash develops on the face and spreads down the body. Measles can be contagious from 4 days before until 4 days after the rash appears.

Measles circulates in most regions of the world including Africa, Asia and Europe.

Measles does not naturally circulate in Canada; however cases have been reported in travellers to Canada from countries where measles is a concern. An infected traveller can spread measles to groups of people who are not vaccinated and cause an outbreak in Canada.  

Travellers are at an increased risk of measles infection if they:

Recommendations

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic six weeks before you travel.

Get vaccinated for measles

The most important thing you can do to protect yourself from getting the measles is to be vaccinated. In Canada, the measles vaccine is part of our routine immunization schedule. Travellers should make sure their measles vaccination is up-to-date, regardless of their travel destination:
 

Wash your hands frequently

Practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette

Monitor your health

Registration of Canadians Abroad

Sign up with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service to stay connected with the Government of Canada in case of an emergency abroad or an emergency at home.


Date modified: