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May 31, 2019

Measles Outbreak Throughout the United States


The United States has confirmed 940 cases of the measles, spread over 26 states. Measles were declared eliminated in 2000, according to federal health officials. However, this outbreak has been noted to be the worst case of measles since 1994 with 958 cases. Officials say that the outbreak is not over yet and may even exceed the highest number of cases which occurred in 1992 at 2,126 cases. 

Although this disease was no longer present in the United States, travelers may be carrying the virus back from countries where measles is still common. Public health officials also link the recent outbreak to misinformation about vaccinations.

According to the World Health Organization, the reported cases of measles have increased by 300 percent in just the first 3 months of 2019 compared to 2018. Countries with ongoing outbreaks of Measles include Ethiopia, Philippines, Myanmar, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Madagascar and many others. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms that the attack rate of measles is significantly high as is normal for most airborne viruses. An infected person has the potential to put an average of 18 others at risk of contracting the disease. Symptoms of the virus include: fever, dry cough, runny nose, sore throat, inflamed eyes, and outbreak of rashes 3-5 days after the onset of symptoms. 

For travelers planning to visit the airport this summer: 

International and domestic travelers visiting airports should be vaccinated as these are high-transit areas with a high volume of people coming through from all around the world. 
Keep your hands clean by carrying hand sanitizer or frequently washing during your airport visits, especially if you will be touching common areas.
Be careful around kiosks, security trays, seatback tray tables, and arm rests as they are high contact areas and can spread diseases rather quickly.
Research your destination to know what diseases may be prevalent in the area and what preventative measures should be taken. 

The measles outbreak is a key factor to consider when traveling whether you are going abroad or staying domestic. If you are planning to travel to a high-risk area, make sure to consult your physician about what the best preventative measures would be.  

Assist America also offers many services for travelers experiencing symptoms or those who think they may be affected. Assist America’s coordinators can help with medical referrals, prescriptions, and medical monitoring of your condition while you travel.

Download the Assist America Mobile App for 24/7 access to our Operations Team. The app also has various features that are useful for travelers such as Pre-Trip Information with country specific immunization requirements, U.S. Pharmacy Locator, and travel alerts.


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The content of this edition of AssistAlert is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace further investigation or personal observations. If you are planning travel, or are traveling in or proximate to the locations identified in this newsletter, you are encouraged to contact SecurAssist for additional information.

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