Measles, both near and far

Thirty-four measles cases have been confirmed in people with no history of travel – they were from two districts on Praslin island: Grand Anse Praslin and Baie Saint Anne Praslin. Read more. Elsewhere in the Indian Ocean, India has donated 30,000 measles vaccines to the Maldives for a vaccination campaign aimed at both Maldivians and foreign workers. Six measles infections have been recorded to date. In the Central Africa Republic, a national measles epidemic has been declared – at least 11 health zones have been impacted and more than 3,650 cases recorded since Feb 2019. And in our region, American Samoa’s case count is now 15 after three more cases were confirmed this week. Samoa reported two measles infections in the week to Jan 20, taking the outbreak total to 5,707 and 83 deaths. A govt. post advised that they have no vaccination requirements for inbound travellers, however travellers from Samoa to American Samoa do require proof of MMR vaccination. An update for Tonga to Jan 22 reveals no new measles cases on the islands of Eua and Niuas, however active transmission continues on Tongatapu and Vava’u. More than 42,700 vaccines have been administered in response to the outbreak. Fiji’s health minister announced last week that all 28 measles patients had recovered and, while no new cases have arisen so far, measures to raise vaccination coverage will continue.

Advice for travellers

Measles occurs in developing and developed countries and unvaccinated travellers are at particular risk, both in transit and during their stay. In general the infection is relatively benign, but complications can result in severe illness or death. Travelvax Australia recommends travellers check their immunisation status for measles and other childhood diseases such as diphtheria, whooping cough (pertussis) and mumps at least 6 weeks before departure. Read more about measles.

Before you travel, call Travelvax Australia’s telephone advisory service on 1300 360 164 (toll-free from landlines) for country-specific advice and information. You can also make an appointment at your nearest Travelvax clinic to obtain vaccinations, medication to prevent or treat illness, and accessories for your journey.