Measles remains a common disease in many parts of the world, including areas in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa. Worldwide, about 20 million people get measles each year; about 146,000 die. In the United States, most of the measles cases result from international travel. The disease is brought into the United States by unvaccinated people who get infected in other countries. They spread measles to others, which can cause outbreaks.
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of getting infected when they travel internationally.
Some U.S. travelers have become sick with measles after traveling abroad.
Make Sure You’re Protected against Measles before International Travel
Before any international travel—
- Infants 6 months through 11 months of age should receive one dose of MMR vaccine.†
- Children 12 months of age and older should receive two doses of MMR vaccine separated by at least 28 days.
- Teenagers and adults who do not have evidence of immunity* against measles should get two doses of MMR vaccine separated by at least 28 days.
† Infants who get one dose of MMR vaccine before their first birthday should get two more doses (one dose at 12 through 15 months of age and another dose at least 28 days later).
* Acceptable presumptive evidence of immunity against measles includes at least one of the following: written documentation of adequate vaccination, laboratory evidence of immunity, laboratory confirmation of measles, or birth in the United States before 1957.
- Measles—United States, January 1-August 24, 2013
During the first 8 months of 2013, 159 people in the United States were reported to have measles. About 99% of these cases were associated with importations from other countries. MMWR. Sep 13, 2013
- Measles—United States, 2011
In 2011, 222 people in the United States were reported to have measles. These cases were mostly due to international travel. MMWR. April 20, 2012
- Travelers Health: Yellow Book
Measles chapter from CDC’s Health Information for International Travel (the Yellow Book).
- June 2011 CDC Health Advisory - High Number of Reported Measles Cases in the U.S. in 2011—Linked to Outbreaks Abroad
The U.S. is experiencing a high number of measles cases this year. People of all ages should be up to date on MMR vaccination and other vaccinations, especially before international travel.
- Measles Imported by Returning U.S. Travelers Aged 6-23 Months, 2001-2011
MMWR states in the first 2 months of 2011, CDC received reports of seven imported measles cases among returning U.S. travelers aged 6-23 months; four required hospitalization.
- Page last reviewed: November 3, 2014
- Page last updated: March 20, 2015
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