Traveling and worried about measles? Here’s what health experts recommend

Health officials across California are urging people to ensure they are vaccinated against the measles, particularly before traveling abroad.

Eight Bay Area jurisdictions including Alameda County, the City of Berkeley, Contra Costa County, Marin County, Santa Clara County, San Mateo County and Solano County joined last week in a public push to spread information about measles risks and traveling while unvaccinated.

Of the 2019 confirmed measles cases in California, 16 were in international travelers and 22 were due to spread from international travelers to other persons, according to the California Department of Public Health.

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Two cases are of an unknown source, but CDPH said it believes these two individuals were exposed to measles in international airports. Santa Clara and San Mateo counties have both reported 4 confirmed cases of measles, according to CDPH.

Countries linked to the California outbreak include India, Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam and Ukraine, according to CDPH.

The Bay Area jurisdictions based their advisories off Center for Disease Prevention and Control guidelines. Here’s what they recommended for international travelers:

  • Talk to your doctor about travel immunizations at least four to six weeks before traveling.
  • Adults who are traveling should get vaccinated for measles if they did not receive two doses as children.
  • Infants traveling abroad between the ages of 6 and 11 months old should get an early dose of the vaccine. (CDC normally recommends children receive their first dose between 12 and 15 months, but the vaccine is safe for younger infants as well.)
  • Children 12 months of age and older or teenagers and adults who don’t have evidence of immunity need two doses of the measles vaccine, separated by at least 28 days before traveling abroad .

Additionally, the CDC advises travelers to watch their health for three weeks after returning from a foreign country and call their doctor if they get sick with a rash and a fever.

CDC reported 704 total cases of measles as of April 26, including 13 individual outbreaks in 22 states in 2019. This is the largest measles outbreak since 1994.

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