Measles in Asia

Released: March 12, 2019

Current situation

A large outbreak of measles is ongoing in Israel, with over 3400 confirmed cases reported between March 2018 through to the end of January 2019.

There is also a large outbreak of measles in the Philippines. In January 2019, over 4300 cases of measles have been reported in the country, resulting in multiple deaths.

Japan has reported over 190 confirmed cases of measles between January and the end of February 2019.

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:

Recommendations

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.


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