Measles in the United States

Updated: May 14, 2019

Note:

Original publication date: February 25, 2019

Current situation

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are reporting measles outbreaks (defined as 3 or more cases) in the following jurisdictions:

These outbreaks have been linked to travellers who brought measles back from other countries such as Israel, the Philippines and Ukraine, where large measles outbreaks are occurring. Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

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:

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 in Canada and cause an outbreak. 

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

Recommendations

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic at least 6 weeks before you travel.

Get vaccinated for measles

Protection against measles is especially important for people planning travel. In Canada, the measles vaccine is part of our routine immunization schedule; however, you may require an additional dose before travelling outside of Canada. The following is recommended when travelling outside of Canada:

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.


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