Skip to content

CDC Issues New Measles Alert for Travelers Going to 46 Countries

The agency is updating its guidance as measles outbreaks pop up across the globe.

Despite being declared eliminated from the U.S. in 2000, measles is once again making headlines. This highly contagious disease was pushed out by a strong childhood vaccination program throughout the nation, but it remains prominent in other parts of the world—and that, along with lagging vaccination, has helped measles make its way back into the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The World Health Organization (WHO) warned about an "alarming" increase in worldwide measles outbreaks at the beginning of the year, and now, this global rise has prompted the CDC to release a new measles alert for travelers going to 46 different countries.

RELATED: CDC Issues New Warning to "Stay Alert" Amid Rising Measles Cases.

Of course, measles can be a problem for those staying put, if they're not properly protected. The CDC reports that as of March 7, a total of 45 measles cases have been reported in the country across 17 different states: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.

There have been almost as many measles cases in the first three months of 2024 as there were for all of last year. In 2023, a total of 58 measles cases were reported nationwide, according to the CDC.

"Measles can easily come to the United States by way of unvaccinated travelers, and measles cases have been increasing around the country," the agency explained. "This most commonly happens when people who live in the United States visit countries where there are measles outbreaks. Once someone gets measles and returns to America, measles can spread if people in their community aren't up-to-date on their vaccinations."

With numbers climbing, the CDC decided to update its measles guidance for travelers on March 13. As CBS News reported, the agency previously advised people to schedule a doctor's appointment at least one month before traveling if they weren't sure whether they were fully protected against measles. This way, they would have enough time to get vaccinated if needed.

But now, the CDC is telling travelers that they should schedule an appointment at least six weeks before traveling in order to have enough time to get vaccinated.

"Travelers are at risk of measles if they have not been fully vaccinated two weeks prior to departure and travel internationally," the agency warned in its new alert.

RELATED: CDC Recommends 2 Vaccines for Certain Americans in New Updates.

According to the CDC, large measles outbreaks have been reported in 46 countries: Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Malaysia, Mauritania, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Republic of the Congo, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Togo, Turkey, United, Arab Emirates, Yemen, and Zambia.

But in light of the staggering rise in measles outbreaks globally, and the fact that so many people may not have protection against the virus, the agency noted that even those going somewhere other than these 46 countries may be at risk. The CDC is recommending that "all travelers are fully vaccinated against measles when traveling to any international destination."

Vaccination can protect travelers from catching measles, and also help to stop the spread here, as the CDC says the "majority of measles cases imported into the United States occur in unvaccinated U.S. residents who become infected during international travel."

Measles can be a life-threatening disease, as some people may develop pneumonia, encephalitis, or even die after being infected. The measles virus can live for up to two hours in the air or on a surface, making it very easy to spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing.

"Travelers should seek medical care if they develop a rash, high fever, cough, runny nose, or red, watery eyes," the CDC advised in its new alert. "Measles is highly contagious. Travelers with suspected measles should notify the healthcare facility before visiting so staff can implement precautions to prevent spread within the facility."

Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the medication you're taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your healthcare provider directly.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
Filed Under
Sources referenced in this article
  1. Source:
  2. Source:
  3. Source:
  4. Source:
  5. Source: