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Travelers to Europe need measles protection
July 30, 2017, 4:11 pm

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States has advised that people traveling to Europe should take steps to protect themselves against measles.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that since January 2016, more than 14,000 cases of measles have been reported in Europe and that across the continent 35 people have died from the highly contagious infection.

The 15 European countries reporting cases so far this year are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

Since last fall, CDC in the US has issued travel health notices for five European countries: Belgium, Germany, Italy and Romania, as well as France, which was added this month. Such notices are meant to inform travelers and their doctors about current health issues in specific locales.

Americans who are not protected against measles, either through vaccination or past infection, should get vaccinated before international travel. Doing so protects travelers and people back home, said an advisory from the CDC. The advisory also asked travelers to see their health care provider at least 4 to 6 weeks before any international travel so they have time to complete a vaccine series and give their body time to build up immunity.

The measles virus spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The CDC estimates that nine out of 10 susceptible people in close contact to someone with measles will develop the disease, too. Symptoms usually include a rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes. In some cases, an ear infection, diarrhea, or a serious lung infection such as pneumonia will develop. Although rare, measles can also cause swelling of the brain and death, according to the CDC.

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