Measles Outbreaks Prompts CDC Alert

International travelers may want to check their vaccine records. Twelve recent outbreaks of measles have occurred this year from people who weren’t vaccinated traveling to and from countries where large outbreaks have been occurring, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a CDC Health Advisory, federal authorities are urging people to check with their family physician before traveling abroad.

Measles is a highly contagious, viral illness that can cause severe complications such as pneumonia, encephalitis and death. All United States residents older than 6 months should be vaccinated before leaving the country, the June alert recommends.

Since January, doctors have confirmed 156 cases of measles in the U.S. – the highest reported number in 15 years. Of those 156 patients, 139 were U.S. residents. More than half were unvaccinated. The remaining had only some of the required doses or no records of their vaccination.

The virus is usually transmitted when an infected person coughs or sneezes. But it can remain contagious as long as two hours on surfaces and in the air. Symptoms generally begin one to two weeks after a person becomes infected.

Some of the symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Runny Nose
  • Cough
  • Blotchy Rash
  • Red, Watery Eyes

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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