With the summer travel season just getting underway, a new Centers for Disease Control report is raising concerns that travelers to Europe could bring home not just memories, but potentially new measles cases.
“The issue is that people from the United States think of Europe as a low-risk infectious disease destination,” Dr. Kristina Angelo a Medical Epidemiologist at the CDC, said.
Health experts say the region is experiencing a spike in measles up 300 percent in the first three months of this year compared to the same time frame of last year.
The majority of cases are in Ukraine, but high numbers are also reported in France, Greece and Italy, putting unvaccinated travelers at risk.
“When these international travelers from the United States go abroad, like the European region and come back home, they actually spread the disease to underimmunized or unimmunized folks in the United States also,” Dr. Angelo said.
Already, cases in the U.S. are at their highest levels since 1992.
The CDC advises travelers get vaccinated at least four weeks before travel.
Babies between six and 11 months old should receive an early, additional dose.
“The measles vaccine is very effective. Once you receive the second dose of vaccine, it’s thought to be approximately 99% effective at combating measles,” Dr. Angelo said.
Preparing ahead of time, so travelers can enjoy their vacations, and eventually, their return home.