Plan for Travel

Key points

  • Measles cases in the United States originate from unvaccinated international travelers.
  • You should be vaccinated against measles at least 2 weeks before international travel.
  • Call your doctor immediately if you think you or your child have been exposed to measles.
Airplane flying above the clouds

Who is at risk

You are at risk for measles if:‎

You have not been fully vaccinated or have not had measles in the past and you travel internationally to areas where measles is spreading.

Before international travel

Do not travel if you are sick!‎

Call your doctor immediately if you think you or your child have been exposed to measles.

Protect yourself against measles

The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones is by getting the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. You should plan to be fully vaccinated against measles at least 2 weeks before you depart. If your trip is less than 2 weeks away and you're not protected, you should still get a dose of MMR. The MMR vaccine protects against all 3 diseases.

  • Two doses of MMR vaccine provide 97% protection against measles.
  • One dose provides 93% protection.

Call your doctor or your local health department; or locate a health center or clinic near you to schedule an appointment for the MMR vaccine. CDC does not recommend measles vaccine for infants younger than 6 months of age.

Infants under 12 months old who are traveling

  • Get an early dose at 6 through 11 months.
  • Follow the recommended schedule and get:
    • Another dose at 12 through 15 months.
    • A final dose at 4 through 6 years.

Children over 12 months old

  • Get first dose immediately.
  • Get second dose 28 days after first dose.

Teens & adults with no evidence of immunity*

  • Get first dose immediately.
  • Get second dose 28 days after first dose.

*Acceptable 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
  • Birth in the United States before 1957

After international travel

Watch your health for 3 weeks after you return. Measles is highly contagious and can spread to others through coughing and sneezing.

Call your doctor immediately if:‎

You or your child gets sick with a rash and fever. Tell your doctor you traveled abroad, and whether you have received MMR vaccine.
  • If one person has measles, 9 out of 10 people around that person will also become infected if they are not protected.
  • People who are infected can spread measles to others from 4 days before a rash develops through 4 days after the rash appears.
  • Measles symptoms typically include:
    • High fever (may spike to more than 104° F)
    • Cough
    • Runny nose (coryza)
    • Red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis or pink eye)
    • Rash (3-5 days after symptoms begin)

Countries having measles outbreaks

Measles remains a common disease in many parts of the world, including Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. Each year, an estimated 128,000 people die from measles. Many countries and popular travel destinations have experienced measles outbreaks in recent years. These include the UK, Israel, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Ukraine, the Philippines, and more.

Before your next trip:‎

Check your destination and CDC's global travel notices.

U.S. measles outbreaks from international travel

In the United States, measles cases originate from international travel.

The disease is brought into the United States by unvaccinated people who get infected in other countries. Typically, 2 out of 3 of these unvaccinated travelers are Americans. They can spread measles to other people who are not protected against measles, which sometimes leads to outbreaks.

Since measles is still common in many countries, unvaccinated travelers bring measles to the United States, and it can spread. Protect yourself, your family, and your community with the MMR vaccine, especially before traveling internationally.