Measles & International Travel:
What Parents Need to Know

Measles is a highly contagious disease that can be dangerous, especially for babies and young children. Measles typically begins with a high fever (may spike to more than 104º), cough, runny nose (coryza) and red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis). A red rash follows 3-5 days after initial symptoms begin. Cases in the United States typically originate from unvaccinated international travelers.

The best way to protect your child is to ensure that they are fully vaccinated at least two weeks before departing on an international trip.  Two doses of the MMR vaccine provides 97% protection against measles while one dose provides 93% protection.

If an infant under 12 months of age will be traveling, they should:

  • Get an early dose at 6 through 11 months.
  • Follow the recommended schedule and get another dose at 12 through 15 months and a final dose at 4 through 6 years of age.

For children 12 months of age and older, they should:

  • Get their first dose immediately.
  • Get a second dose 28 or more days after the first dose and at least two weeks prior to travel.

After returning from international travel, watch for symptoms for a period of three weeks and contact your CPCMG provider if there are any concerns.

For more information about measles, please visit the CPCMG Health Hub or download The Pediatrician Next Door Podcast, hosted by CPCMG Girard Pediatrician Dr. Wendy Hunter, which focuses on spotting and stopping the spread of measles.