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Measles in Germany

photo of Juwel-Palais, Berlin, Germany

As of March 30, 2015, the Berlin Senate Department of Health and Social Affairs has reported more than 950 cases of measles. Most of the measles cases have been in Berlin and Brandenburg State, which surrounds Berlin. There have also been cases in Baden-Württemberg and Sachsen (Saxony), according to CDC.

CDC recommends that travelers to Germany protect themselves by making sure they are vaccinated against measles, particularly infants 6–11 months of age (1 dose of measles vaccine) and children 12 months of age or older (2 doses of measles vaccine). Clinicians should keep measles in mind when treating patients with fever and rash, especially if the patient has recently traveled internationally.

Measles remains a common disease in many parts of the world, including areas in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa. Worldwide, about 20 million people get measles each year; about 146,000 die. In the United States, most of the measles cases result from international travel. The disease is brought into the United States by unvaccinated people who get infected in other countries. They spread measles to others, which can cause outbreaks.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of getting infected when they travel internationally.

Make Sure You’re Protected against Measles before International Travel

What can travelers do to protect themselves?

1) Get measles vaccine:

  • People who cannot show that they were vaccinated as children and who have never had measles should be vaccinated.

  • Infants 6–11 months of age should have 1 dose of measles vaccine if traveling internationally.

    • Children in the United States routinely receive measles vaccination at 12–15 months of age.

    • Infants vaccinated before age 12 months should be revaccinated on or after the first birthday with 2 doses, separated by at least 28 days.

  • Children 12 months of age or older should have 2 doses, separated by at least 28 days.

  • Adolescents and adults who have not had measles or have not been vaccinated should get 2 doses, separated by at least 28 days.

  • Two doses of MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine is nearly 100% effective at preventing measles.

  • MMR has been used safely and effectively since the 1970s. A few people experience mild, temporary adverse reactions, such as joint pain, from the vaccine, but serious side effects are extremely rare. There is no link between MMR and autism.

2) Practice hygiene and cleanliness:

  • Wash your hands often.

  • If soap and water aren’t available, clean your hands with hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol).

  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.

  • Try to avoid close contact, such as kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils or cups, with people who are sick.

If you feel sick and think you may have measles:

  • Talk to your doctor or nurse if you feel seriously ill, especially if you have a fever.

    • Tell him or her about your travel.

  • Avoid contact with other people while you are sick.

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