With the number of measles outbreaks growing in European countries like Romania, Germany and Italy, health officials with the US Army are advising military families stationed and traveling on the continent.
According to a Stars and Stripes report, Col. Rodney Coldren, a doctor and chief of epidemiology and disease surveillance for Public Health Command Europe said, The vast majority of Americans are already immunized against measles, having received at least two doses of the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine in early childhood.”
However, military health officials say two groups may be vulnerable to measles– foreign-born spouses not subject to the U.S. immunization schedule as children and children under one year of age.
Children less than one-year-old may receive the first dose of the vaccine as early as six months, Regional Health Command Europe officials said. The early dose, however, is additional and does not replace the first shot in the normal immunization schedule.
Some European countries most affected by measles include:
Between 1 January 2016 and 31 March 2017, Romania reported 4,025 cases of measles, including 18 deaths. Cases are either laboratory-confirmed or have an epidemiological link to a laboratory-confirmed case. Infants and young children are the most affected population.
Health officials have reported 1603 measles cases since the beginning of the year through Apr. 16.
According to the German National Public Health Institute, since the beginning of 2017 and as of 12 March 2017, Germany reported 272 cases. In the same period in 2016, Germany reported 18 cases.
CDC recommends that travelers protect themselves by making sure they are vaccinated against measles. Getting measles vaccine is particularly important for infants 6–11 months of age (1 dose of measles vaccine) and children 1 year of age or older (2 doses of measles vaccine). Clinicians should keep measles in mind when treating patients with fever and rash, especially if the patient has recently traveled internationally.