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The US is currently experiencing the largest measles outbreak (1,001 cases reported, to be exact) since the virus was eliminated in 2000. With reports coming from nearly every corner of the country — from Los Angeles to New York City — health officials issued yet another warning in northern Virginia after a measles case was reported in a child that had passed through Dulles International Airport (IAD).
The warning cites that anyone in airport Terminal A and baggage claim from 5:30pm to 8:30pm on June 2 might have been exposed to measles. USA Today also reported Novant Health UVA Health System Haymarket Medical Center and Inova Fair Oaks Hospital are also possible sites for exposure between June 2 and June 4.
Measles has also made an appearance in Mexico. Specifically, a British tourist was hospitalized after coming down with measles at a resort in Playa del Carmen after arriving in Cancun. In the wake of her diagnoses, Mexican medics are monitoring 369 people she met on holiday for signs of infection. Daily Mail reported that she likely was infected with measles prior to coming to Mexico, as it can take up to 19 days for symptoms to appear in an infected person. Local Mexican health authorities claimed that Mexico has been free of native cases of measles since 1996.
As measles continues to make its way around the world, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all travelers receive two rounds of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccination to ensure that they are 97% immune to the virus. The vaccine is also widely available in the US — Dr. Manisha Patel, team leader for measles epidemiology at the CDC, told The Points Guy, “There should be no barrier to getting MMR in the US, which is why we encourage travelers or anybody traveling abroad to get vaccinated before they go.”
If you’re unsure if you’ve been vaccinated, here’s our guide about how to check.
And if you’re concerned you might have been exposed, common symptoms include fever, coughing, runny nose, sore throat, inflamed eyes or conjunctivitis and a rash of tiny white spots with bluish-white centers on a red complexion that can be found inside the mouth, on the inner lining of the cheek, known as Koplik’s Spots. The CDC recommends contacting a doctor if you have these symptoms.
It’s more important than it’s been in decades to understand the severity of the virus — and how to keep yourself from contracting the measles. That’s especially true for people who plan on traveling. The CDC Yellow Book is a helpful resource for travelers who aren’t sure what vaccinations or medications they need before visiting a new country. A recommendation that all travelers vaccinate against measles, mumps and rubella was added to the Yellow Book in March of 2019.
Featured image by Lolostock / Shutterstock.
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