Health Department Advises Overseas Travelers to Be Aware of Measles Outbreaks

For Immediate Release: May 12, 2008
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON – The Vermont Department of Health is advising anyone traveling overseas to be aware of ongoing measles outbreaks and to take the necessary steps to make sure they are protected before traveling.

Measles is still common in most parts of the world, and outbreaks are occurring in several countries in Europe. In 2007, a total of 3,826 cases were reported in European countries.

There are currently no cases of measles in Vermont.

Although measles is no longer a common disease in the United States, cases and outbreaks are now occurring in some parts of the United States. People traveling overseas who are not vaccinated are bringing measles back, and in several instances, transmitting it to others.

Although the risk of contracting measles while traveling remains low, people should make sure they are protected before traveling.

“Anyone born before 1957 is likely to have had measles and therefore is immune,” said Cort Lohff, MD, State Epidemiologist for the Vermont Department of Health. “Anyone born after 1957 who has had measles, or has received two doses of a measles-containing vaccine is immune as well.”

The symptoms of measles include high fever and a rash. Serious complications can occur, and for every 1,000 cases of measles, one to two people will die.

Before the measles vaccine became available in 1963, there were approximately 450,000 measles cases and an average of 450 measles-associated deaths reported each year in the United States. Widespread use of measles vaccine has led to a greater than 99 percent reduction in measles cases in the U.S. compared with the pre-vaccine era.

Anyone with questions about this are asked to call the Vermont Department of Health at 802-863-7240 or 1-800-640-4374 (in Vermont).

For additional information on travel related vaccine recommendations and requirements visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) web site at: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/.

To schedule an appointment with a travel clinic in Vermont, visit the CDC web link at: http://www2.ncid.cdc.gov/travel/yellowfever/state.asp?StateID=46

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