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If You Travel Abroad Get Your Measles Vaccine

imagesCAMU8DZ3The Tennessee Department of Health is reminding those who travel abroad of the need for vaccination against measles. Although measles was officially eradicated from the United States in 2000, it is still present in other regions of the world including Western Europe and cases continue to occur among Americans returning from foreign travel and among foreign visitors to the United States. Vaccination against measles is extremely effective.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced they have confirmed more cases of measles in the United States so far this year than in any year in the past 20 years. The cases and outbreaks are linked to disease acquired internationally and spread in this country among people who are not immune. The Tennessee Department of Health recently identified the first case of measles in the state in three years. The patient is an adult with an uncertain immunization status who had recently traveled abroad.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that is preventable with vaccine. It causes a high fever, cough, runny nose and “pinkeye”, followed by a rash on the face that spreads down the body. Measles can cause serious complications like pneumonia, and is sometimes fatal.
Children and teens younger than age 19 who have TennCare as well as those who do not have health insurance can receive free vaccines through the federal Vaccines for Children Program in participating private medical offices and county health departments. Parents should ask their child’s health care provider if they participate in the Vaccines for Children Program. If a child has insurance that does not pay for vaccines, local health departments and community health centers may provide the immunizations. Adults who are in need of protection against measles may also call their county health department to ask about vaccine.