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CDC tightens travel guidance amid measles outbreaks — what you need to know

With 46 countries reporting large measles outbreaks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tightening guidance for American travelers.
With 46 countries reporting large measles outbreaks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tightening guidance for American travelers.

With 46 countries reporting large measles outbreaks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tightening guidance for American travelers.

“Many international destinations are reporting increased numbers of cases of measles,” warns the agency.

The CDC now recommends Americans consult their physicians six weeks before travel instead of only a month prior, as late-2023 guidance suggested.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tightening travel guidance amid a surge in measles cases. Getty Images
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tightening travel guidance amid a surge in measles cases. Getty Images

Travelers also risk infection if they do not get a measles-mumps-rubella vaccination at least two weeks before their trip.

“The majority of measles cases imported into the United States occur in unvaccinated US residents who become infected during international travel,” the CDC said.

Nations with the most worrisome outbreaks of measles — a virus can stay airborne or on a surface for up to two hours — are in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, per the CDC.

Travelers should allow more time to get vaccinated for the measles, warns the CDC. Getty Images
Travelers should allow more time to get vaccinated for the measles, warns the CDC. Getty Images

Russia and Malaysia are recent entries on the list, according to U.S. News & World Report.

The US has also seen an uptick in measles cases over the winter.

46 countries are reporting large measles outbreaks, per the CDC. CDC
46 countries are reporting large measles outbreaks, per the CDC. CDC

As of March 14, 58 cases of measles have been reported this year in the US — the same number for all of 2023, per the CDC. 

The cases have come from 17 areas: New York City, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington.

Symptoms include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and watery red eyes.