The number of measles cases worldwide have jumped by 30% last year (2017) compared to 2016, with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reporting on Friday [30 Nov 2018] that the numbers of cases in Brazil have surpassed those in crisis-hit Venezuela. In the Americas there have been more than 16 766 confirmed cases more than half of those have been reported in the past month. Brazil now has nearly 10 000 confirmed cases with 12 deaths; the vast majority of cases have been reported in Amazonas state. Venezuela which is still in the throes of a major economic crisis, leading to widespread shortages of medicine, has had 6300 cases confirmed in 2018 and more than 70 deaths. The World Health Organization (WHO) warns a spike in the number of measles cases globally is putting hard-won progress toward the elimination of this highly contagious, deadly disease at risk. A new WHO report states that multiple outbreaks of this killer disease since 2016 have caused an estimated 110 000 deaths in all regions of the globe, with the highest number of cases in the Americas, the eastern Mediterranean region, and Europe.
Advice for travellers
Measles is a highly contagious virus and can cause serious illness in people of all ages. Most cases reported in Australia are linked to overseas travel - both developing and developed countries. Travelvax Australia recommends travellers check their immunisation status for measles and other childhood diseases such as diphtheria, whooping cough (pertussis) and mumps 6 weeks before departure. Read more
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.