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U.S. Travelers Should Be Aware of Measles Risk in Europe

Risk up for inadequately vaccinated individuals visiting Europe, those in contact with infected travelers

MONDAY, June 17, 2019 (HealthDay News) — U.S. travelers need to be aware of measles in Europe and should ensure children are adequately vaccinated, according to a study published online June 17 in Pediatrics.

Kristina M. Angelo, D.O., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues address the implications for U.S. travelers. They note that more than 41,000 measles cases, including 37 deaths, were reported from January 2018 to June 2018 in World Health Organization (WHO) European Region countries. Most cases were reported in the Ukraine, while France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, the Russian Federation, and Serbia also reported high case counts.

The researchers note that because Europe is a common travel destination and generally perceived as being without substantial infectious disease risks, travelers may not consider the importance of a pretravel health consultation, including vaccination. The record number of measles cases in Europe puts unvaccinated and inadequately vaccinated travelers at risk and increases the risk for nontraveling U.S. residents who come into close contact with infected returning travelers. U.S. travelers should be aware of measles virus transmission in Europe and receive all recommended vaccinations before travel. The recommendations for measles vaccinations for children include no vaccination for infants aged younger than 6 months, and consequently, unnecessary travel to countries with circulating measles should be avoided.

“The current WHO European Region outbreak should serve to remind health care providers to stay current with the epidemiology of highly transmissible diseases,” the authors write.

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