Measles in the United States

Updated: March 15, 2019


Original publication date: February 25, 2019

Current situation

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported 6 measles outbreaks (defined as 3 or more cases) in 2019, in the following jurisdictions:

These outbreaks have been linked to travellers who brought measles back from other countries such as Israel and Ukraine, where large measles outbreaks are occurring.

Individual cases of measles have also been confirmed in Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Oregon.

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 in Canada and cause an outbreak. 

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


Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic 6 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: