Pan American Health Organization: July 1, 2013
The Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization (PAHO / WHO) urges all Member States to strengthen their international travel advisories so that they are protected against measles and rubella prior to departure. This recommendation applies to both incoming travelers and for those traveling outbound of this Region.
Due to upcoming cultural and sporting events that will be hosted by countries in the Americas, PAHO/WHO encourages Member States in the Region to recommend vaccination against measles and rubella for all travelers to and from the countries of the Americas, in order to reduce the risk of reintroducing these diseases that have already been eliminated in the Americas.
Travelers who are not vaccinated against measles and rubella are at risk of getting these diseases when visiting countries where these viruses are circulating. Member States should seek to ensure vaccination, with particular attention to women of childbearing age to prevent any infection caused by the rubella virus during pregnancy.
Evidence of immunity to measles and rubella for travelers includes:
- Written documentation of having received the measles and rubella vaccines;
- Laboratory confirmation of rubella and measles immunity (a positive serologic test for the measles and rubella-specific IgG antibodies).
Travelers over 6 months old who are unable to present the documents indicated should be advised by Member States to obtain vaccination for measles and rubella or preferably the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. Ideally, the vaccine should be administered at least two weeks before departure.
Travelers with medical contraindications against undergoing vaccination for measles and rubella are the exception to the above instructions. In addition, infants under 6 months old should not be vaccinated. Infants that receive the MMR vaccine before their first birthday must be revaccinated according to the vaccination schedule in their country.
For the duration of the trip and upon returning to their point of origin, travelers should take notice of the following symptoms:
- Cough, coryza (runny nose), or conjunctivitis (red eyes)
If the traveler believes that they have measles or rubella, they should:
- Remain in the place where they are lodging (hotel or home, etc.) except to go to a doctor. They should not travel nor go to any public places;
- Avoid close contact with other people for seven days following onset of rash