Measles: Global Update
Updated: May 02, 2017
Travel Health Notice
Measles is a highly contagious disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air. It is one of the leading causes of death in young children worldwide.
Measles can be easily prevented by a safe and cost-effective vaccine.
Measles is still circulating in many parts of the world. You are at an increased risk of the measles infection if you have not had the illness, if you have not had the vaccine or have only received one of the two recommended doses.
Where is measles a concern?
You can find a map of reported measles cases worldwide on the World Health Organization (WHO) website. Areas of higher concern include China, Guinea, India, Mongolia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Romania.
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic six weeks before you travel.
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
1. Get vaccinated for measles
Travellers should make sure they have received two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) or measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) immunization, regardless of their travel destination.
- Infants (6 months to 12 months):
- The vaccine may be given as early as six months of age during outbreaks, or for travel to regions where measles is a concern. If this is the case, the routine two dose series must be restarted on or after the first birthday. A total of three doses are given.
- Children/adolescents (12 months to 17 years of age):
- Two doses of the vaccine are recommended. The first dose should be given at 12-15 months of age. The second dose should be given at 18 months of age or any time thereafter (typically before school entry).
- Adults (18 years of age and older):
- Travellers born in or after 1970 should make sure that they have received two doses of the vaccine.
- Travellers born before 1970 should receive one dose the measles vaccine if they do not have one of the following:
- documented evidence of receiving a vaccine on or after their first birthday;
- laboratory evidence of immunity (e.g. through blood testing); or
- a history of laboratory confirmed measles disease.
2. Wash your hands frequently
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Keep a bottle with you when you travel.
3. Practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette:
- Cover your mouth and nose with your arm to reduce the spread of germs.
- Dispose of tissues as soon as possible after use, and wash your hands.
4. Monitor your health
- See a healthcare provider if you develop these symptoms when travelling or after you return to Canada:
- Alert the health care provider about your symptoms before your appointment, so they can take proper precautions.
- Tell the health care provider which countries you have visited.
- Measles can spread four days before the rash starts, until four days after it appears. It is best to avoid close contact with other people during this time to reduce the chance of infecting others.
- If you notice these symptoms during the flight, tell the flight attendant before you land, or the border services officer as you enter the country. They will notify a quarantine officer who can assess the symptoms and refer you to medical care.
- Date modified: