CDC Watch - Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions

CDC Travel Alert Issued Regarding Columbia’s Measles Outbreak

Columbia’s ongoing measles outbreak is related to Venezuela and Brazil outbreaks says PAHO
jet taking off
South America (Vax Before Travel)

A Level 1 Travel Alert, Practice Usual Precautions, has been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding a measles outbreak in Columbia.

This CDC Alert says US travelers to Colombia should ensure they are immunized against the measles virus. 

People who cannot show that they were vaccinated or are otherwise protected against measles should get vaccinated with the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine before leaving the USA, said the CDC. 

This Alert is related to the expanding measles outbreaks in South and Central America during 2018. 

As of November 30, 2018, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reported a total of 16,039 confirmed measles cases, including 86 deaths, from 12 countries of the Region of the Americas. 

The unfortunate leaders in this PAHO report are Brazil (9,898 cases, including 13 deaths), Colombia (171 cases), and Venezuela (5,6431 cases, including 73 deaths).   

To support Columbia’s infectious disease outbreaks, the US Pentagon deployed the hospital ship USNS Comfort to Colombia on August 16, 2018. 

The US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in Stars & Stripes, “We're not sending soldiers, we’re sending doctors on this humanitarian mission.” 

Previously, on June 28, 2018, the US State Department issued a Level 2 Travel Advisory, Exercise Increased Caution, for Americans visiting Columbia. 

Measles is a disease that can lead to serious complications, such as pneumonia (infection of the lungs), and even death. It is caused by a highly contagious virus that is spread through the air by breathing, coughing, or sneezing.

Signs and symptoms of measles include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes, says the CDC.   

Additionally, the CDC says visitors to Columbia should make sure they are up-to-date on routine vaccinations, such as diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, varicella, polio, and a yearly flu shot. 

Moreover, certain Columbia visitors may need hepatitis A, typhoid and yellow fever vaccinations. 

In the USA, these vaccines are available at certified travel vaccination pharmacies and clinics. 

Travelers to Columbia can easily request a vaccine counseling appointment at Vax-Before-Travel.

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides the private sector vaccine prices for general information. 

And, MMR vaccine discounts can be found here. 

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.