Measles in Europe

Updated: March 05, 2018


Original Publication date: August 16, 2017

Why is measles a risk for travellers?

Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease and is one of the leading causes of death in young children. Measles circulates in most regions of the world including Africa, Asia and Europe.

In Canada, measles cases reported originate from travellers. Once measles arrives in Canada with an infected traveller, it can then be spread to groups of people who are not vaccinated and cause an outbreak.

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

Where is measles a concern?

Highest number of measles cases reported in European countries in 2017 and 2018:

Cases of measles have also been reported in: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. 

What is 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 three to seven days, a red blotchy rash develops on the face and spreads down the body. Measles can be contagious from four days before until four day after after the rash appears.

How can you protect yourself from measles?

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

Get vaccinated for measles

Measles can be easily prevented with a vaccine. In Canada, the measles vaccine is part of our routine vaccinations. 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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