The CDC has issued a travel notice warning travelers of measles outbreaks in Kyrgyzstan, and in Germany. Over 7400 cases of measles have been reported in Kyrgyzstan fromMay 2014 to February 2015.As of March 30, 2015 there have been over 1000 cases of measles in Germany, mostly in Berlin and Brandenburg State.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that can cause many complications, and can be fatal.
How to protect yourself
The CDC recommends you be vaccinated against the measles if you plan to travel to Kyrgyzstan,or to Germany. You need to start your vaccination at least several months before departure, because you need 2 doses of the vaccine, 28 days apart, to ensure the best protection. If you never had the measles, or weren’t vaccinated as a child, or don’t have documents proving you were vaccinated, then you should be vaccinated.
You still should practice good hygiene rules to prevent infection:
- Don’t touch your nose, eyes, and mouth, unless you just washed them with soap, or have used an alcohol-based sanitizer.
- Avoid close contact with others who could be sick , and avoid sharing glasses and utensils with them
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow or tissue
Symptoms include a fever, and a rash, and can occur from 10 to 12 days after exposure to the virus. Other symptoms are red and watery eyes, and a cough. Those who are infected are contagious about 4 days before and 4 days after a rash appears. See a doctor as soon as you have these symptoms to prevent complications. If you feel sick upon arrival at home, advise a flight attendant before you land, and border agents at the airport. Antibiotics aren’t effective against measles. Be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Be aware that even walking through airports can expose you to the virus. Many other countries have cases of measles, other the most recent ones in Germany and Kyrgyzstan. If you travel abroad, be sure you and your children are vaccinated.