Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It remains an important cause of death among young children globally, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Worldwide, 19 cases of measles per 1 million persons are reported each year and about 89,780 people die.
Measles is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons. Initial symptoms, which usually appear 10–12 days after infection, include high fever, a runny nose, bloodshot eyes, and tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth. Several days later, a rash develops, starting on the face and upper neck and gradually spreading downwards.
For passengers, it is recommended before any international travel:
- Infants 6 months through 11 months of age should receive one dose of MMR vaccine (Infants who get one dose of MMR vaccine before their first birthday should get two more doses; one dose at 12 through 15 months of age and another dose at least 28 days later).
- Children 12 months of age and older should receive two doses of MMR vaccine separated by at least 28 days.
- Teenagers and adults who do not have evidence of immunity against measles should get two doses of MMR vaccine separated by at least 28 days.
Acceptable presumptive evidence of immunity against measles includes at least one of the following:
--> written documentation of adequate vaccination,
-->laboratory evidence of immunity,
-->laboratory confirmation of measles, or
-->birth in the US before 1957.
Under the Global Vaccine Action Plan, measles and rubella are targeted for elimination in five WHO Regions by 2020.