Getting the proper vaccinations before a trip is extremely important, but it’s not only yellow fever, typhoid, cholera, and the like that travelers should be worried about — measles are making a comeback in the US and there’s already been 268 cases there in 2019 alone.
If you don’t have an MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) proof of vaccination in your health records, make sure you talk to your family physician and get vaccinated before you travel internationally, domestically, or even walk around airports. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all six measles outbreaks in the US so far in 2019 have been linked to people carrying measles from foreign countries such as Israel and Ukraine where there are large outbreaks of the disease.
Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that can spread to between nine and 19 people who are not immunized, and airports and airplanes are an easy place for them to spread. The New York Times explains, “Unlike the influenza pathogens, which spread when a person sneezes or coughs but then fall, the measles virus remains suspended in air […] allowing the pathogens to linger and float for up to two hours.”
And you don’t have to be sitting directly near someone on a plane to catch the disease, either. Back in 2014, a child connecting on a flight from India passed measles to a man at a Chicago airport, even though they didn’t even fly on the same plane — they only used the same domestic gate.
Measles is a very serious virus that can be lethal or lead to very severe and long-term complications, especially in children.