The most recent CDC data on the current measles epidemic counts 152 cases in 18 states and the District of Columbia. Madison Park reports some other countries are having it worse:
The United States is grappling with the resurgence of a disease it eliminated 15 years ago. But it’s not alone.
Data by the World Health Organization indicate that measles immunization rates are declining in several Western countries, like Canada, Belgium, Denmark and Spain, as some parents are opting out due to personal beliefs.
The data also show that more than 100 countries, including Zimbabwe, Iran and North Korea, have higher measles immunization rates than the United States, which was at 91%.
China leads the way with the most suspected cases of measles in 2014. The Philippines (following Typhoon Haiyan) had the next highest case rate, followed by Vietnam. But Park says it’s not just Asia that’s experiencing a resurgence of the vaccine-preventable disease:
Europe reported 4,735 measles cases in 2014, in which 85% of the cases were unvaccinated and 10% had not finished their doses. The continent saw a peak in 2010, with 32,480 measles cases.
Anyone who travels abroad for business, education (in college study-abroad programs), or pleasure should heed the words of our own Dr. Sarah Kohl, president of TravelReadyMD: Be prepared!
It’s been a tough day. You’re exhausted. The day was successful, your presentation went well. You melt into a seat at the airport pub and order a chicken sandwich while you tap away at your phone catching up on emails. You just want to get on the flight and get home to your family when something catches your eye on your phone: A warning about a measles outbreak affecting all travelers at the airport.
Really? Do you need to worry about measles whenever you walk through a public space?
Yup, measles is the most contagious virus on the planet.
You can catch it just by walking through a place where someone with measles was, two hours ago. You don’t even need face-to-face contact with an infected person. Yikes.
But you only need to be concerned if your measles vaccine is not up to date. If you are properly immunized, relax you’re covered.
Parents usually know whether or not their children’s shots are up-to-date. (And if they don’t, they can easily access those records from the pediatrician’s office with a simple phone call or electronically via a patient portal inquiry.) But a lot of parents don’t remember when their last vaccines were, and accessing their own immunization records might be more complicated. For a international traveler — especially a business traveler — being unimmunized or under-immunized could have some terrible consequences for you and for those with whom you travel and do business:
If you travel a lot, you will be exposed to measles since a significant numbers of people in Europe, Asia, UK and USA are not properly immunized.
Get yourself protected.
IF you don’t know your immunization status and were born after 1957 get a second dose of MMR. It’ll make you feel calmer, so that you can focus on your business and your life without worrying about outbreaks
Isn’t that what your really want anyway?
Information you’ll need for international travel is here at Dr. Kohl’s TravelReadyMD website. Also, I strongly urge every reader to share Dr. Kohl’s excellent talk (video below) with any friend or loved one who travels abroad, especially those who travel frequently for business.