Measles transmission had been thought to be minimized in the United States though vaccination, but it is still common in many parts of the world, including Europe. Travelers who have not been vaccinated are at risk of getting the disease and spreading it to their friends and family members who may not be up-to-date with vaccinations. Because of this risk, all travelers should be up-to-date on their vaccinations, regardless of where they are going. Measles is among the most contagious diseases, and even domestic travelers may be exposed on airplanes or in airports. (CDC.org/Traveler’s Health)
Do you enjoy traveling? Many of us do, but we have to remember that in traveling, we are leaving our “comfort zone,” and going out and about around new locations, new cuisine, and new populations of individuals. Here at home, we feel pretty safe, knowing that our families and friends are usually healthy – and we have a strong focus on preventative medicine. However, when we travel – whether here in the US or overseas, we are around large groups of people from all over the world. Just think about how many people are around you at an airport or theme park….how can you be sure that they are healthy? The only control you do have is to be sure that YOU are up to date on vaccinations.
Measles is an easy example of a disease that many of us considered to be “extinct.” But, after the recent outbreak, the studies show that the number of documented cases is at its highest in nearly one quarter of a century – and many of the cases can be traced back to a single infected individual at a theme park! Just think about it – all of those happy, fun-seeking individuals were exposed at the “happiest place on earth” by someone who “shared” the illness by simply coughing or sneezing. IF someone was in the same vicinity, and was not immune – they probably got the disease themselves. The illness continues to spread silently at first, because you can be ill and infectious before the rash appears and you even know you have it! If you are exposed, and not immune, you have a 90% chance of acquiring the illness – yikes!
What can you do about it? Its Simple: Vaccinate yourself, your family, and encourage your friends to get vaccinated too.