The Government of Canada has issued a Level I Travel Alert regarding the ongoing measles epidemic in the United States.
Over 14 communities throughout the USA have reported measles cases during 2019.
These outbreaks have been linked to travelers who brought measles back from other countries, such as England, Israel, and France, where large measles outbreaks occurred during 2018.
This Alert was issued on February 25, 2019, advising Canadians to ‘practice usual travel health precautions’.
For example, notices at this level may remind travelers about routine vaccinations, highlight the importance of hand washing, or recommend protective measures to avoid mosquito bites.
Measles does not naturally circulate in Canada; however, cases have been reported in travelers to Canada from countries where measles is a concern.
An infected traveler can spread measles to groups of people who are not vaccinated in Canada and cause an outbreak.
In Canada, the measles vaccine is part of the routine immunization schedule.
Canadian travelers are at an increased risk of measles infection if they:
- have not had measles, or
- have not received the age-appropriate recommended doses of the measles vaccine
When traveling outside Canada, you may be at risk for a number of vaccine-preventable illnesses. This website lists countries who have been identified as a ‘risk’.
You should consult a healthcare provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel. This is an opportunity to:
- review your immunization history
- make sure your provincial/territorial vaccination schedule is up-to-date
- discuss any trip-related health concerns you may have
- assess your needs based on where you plan to travel and what you plan to do
You may need additional vaccinations depending on your age, planned travel activities and local conditions.
There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travelers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
Some countries require proof that you have received a yellow fever vaccination before allowing you to enter the country.
Canadians are encouraged to enroll with the Registration of Canadians Abroadservice to stay connected with the Government of Canada in case of an emergency abroad or an emergency at home.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
Moreover, do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be traveling away from major city centers.
Separately, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Americans visiting Canada should ensure they are up-to-date on routine vaccines, such as measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.