Measles: Global Update

Updated: July 28, 2016

Travel Health Notice

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It is one of the leading causes of death in young children worldwide. Measles cases occur around the world.

Within the last 10 years, the number of measles cases reported globally has decreased significantly; however, there have been a number of large outbreaks, mostly in Africa and Europe. The Region of the Americas, including Canada and the United States, have experienced outbreaks of measles, when the virus has been imported from other regions.

Travellers who are not immune to measles (those who have not been fully vaccinated or have not been previously infected with the disease) have an increased risk of infection. For example, travel through international airports, including those in Canada, may increase your chance of exposure to the measles virus.

The Public Health Agency of Canada reminds travellers to make sure their measles vaccination is up-to-date.

Where is measles a concern?

Measles remains a common disease worldwide. In many regions of the world including Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania, measles is present (endemic) and large outbreaks can occur. Travellers who are not immune are at risk.  A map of reported measles cases worldwide is available on the World Health Organization (WHO) website.

In Canada, measles has been eliminated since 1998. However, Canada will continue to see measles cases related to travel to countries where measles is present (endemic) or where there are large outbreaks.


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

1. Get vaccinated
Canadians are reminded to keep all vaccinations up-to-date. See the recommended routine vaccine schedule for further information.

Travellers should be up-to-date on measles immunization regardless of their travel destination.

2. Wash your hands frequently

3. Practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette

4. Monitor your health

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