The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) is reminding persons who plan to attend the Olympic Games to get vaccinated especially against measles and rubella at least two weeks before traveling. The Olympic Games are scheduled to take place 5-21 August in Brazil, followed by the Paralympic Games during the period of 7-18 September, 2016.
In the Americas, endemic transmission of measles was interrupted in 2002 and transmission of rubella was interrupted in 2009. In 2015, the region was certified as having eliminated rubella and congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). An international commission is expected to certify the elimination of measles in the near future. However, unimmunized travelers from countries where these viruses still circulate could reintroduce them into the hemisphere.
“It is key that everyone traveling to the Games be up-to-date with their vaccination in order to ensure that we can keep the region free of measles and rubella,” said PAHO Director Carissa F. Etienne.
This year’s Games are expected to attract up to 500,000 visitors and participants from countries around the world. At least 104 countries had reported measles cases in 2015.
PAHO/WHO also recommends that all travelers ensure that their immunization for routine vaccines is up-to-date. Further to these recommendations, travelers should consider additional vaccines depending on their itinerary.