Earlier this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported preliminary global data shows that reported cases rose by 300 percent in the first three months of 2019, compared to the same period in 2018.

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Current outbreaks include the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Myanmar, Philippines, Sudan, Thailand and Ukraine, causing many deaths – mostly among young children.

In addition, spikes in case numbers have also occurred in countries with high overall vaccination coverage, including the United States of America as well as Israel and Tunisia, as the disease has spread fast among clusters of unvaccinated people.

Last week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel notice for the public concerning what travelers can do to protect themselves.

Be sure you and your travel companions (infants 6 months of age and older, children, and adults) are protected fully against measles before leaving the United States, the federal health agency said.

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Vaccination with a measles-containing vaccine is one way to make sure you are protected against measles. There are two measles-containing vaccines available in the United States: measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, and measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (MMRV) vaccine. MMRV vaccine can only be used for children aged 1 through 12 years. If you and your travel companions have received two doses of a measles-containing vaccine (and can document both of them), you have sufficient protection against the disease. You do not need any additional measles vaccines or lab work. You are also protected against measles if you have laboratory evidence of immunity, laboratory confirmation of measles disease, or if you were born before 1957.

If you are not sure if you or your travel companions are protected fully against measles, schedule an appointment to see your healthcare provider at least one month before traveling internationally.

Before you travel internationally, check the destination page for your intended destination to see if there is an outbreak of measles occurring there. Countries with measles outbreaks are not the only places where infection is a risk, however. There are many countries where measles spreads routinely; some of them may have more measles cases than countries experiencing outbreaks. Airports, public transportation, and tourist attractions are also places where measles can spread. It is critical, therefore, for all international travelers to be protected against measles, regardless of their destination.