Horrible virus which infects travellers all over the world, causing cold-like symptoms, a fever, sore eyes and a blotchy rash. It can sometimes lead to pneumonia and encephalitis.

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Key Facts around Measles

If you have not been vaccinated and are in close contact with someone who has measles, there is a 90% chance you will catch the disease.1


  • How do people catch this disease?

    Measles is one of the most contagious diseases in the world. Transmission occurs by breathing in tiny droplets spread by the coughs and sneezes of people infected with the measles virus. The virus survives for a few hours on surfaces and so can also be picked up on the hands and then carried to the mouth and nose.1,3

  • Which countries are affected?

    Outbreaks can happen in areas where people may be unvaccinated or under-vaccinated. Measles outbreaks are occurring in every region of the world.3

  • What are the symptoms?

    Coughs, sneezes and a runny nose, sore eyes, fever and patchy red rash, usually spreading from the head and neck to the rest of the body.1,4

  • How serious is the disease?

    Measles severely weakens the immune system for about six weeks and therefore making it easier for other pathogens to enter the body. The complication rate for measles is about 20%, with complications ranging from bronchitis and pneumonia to a potentially life-threatening inflammation of the brain (encephalitis). A rare but fatal late complication (6 – 8 years after infection) is subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE), which leads to neuronal deficits and ultimately death.1,4

  • Can I reduce the chances of catching the disease?

    You can take the following precautions to help reduce your risk of infection:

    • Visit a travel health clinic to assess the risks of the planned trip and get advice about available vaccinations and further precautions.
      Click here to find your nearest travel health clinic and make an appointment:
    • Avoid contact with people who have measles since the disease is highly infectious.1,4
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yellow Book 2020. Chapter 4. Travel-Related Infectious Diseases. Measels (Rubeola). Available online: (last accessed October 2022)
  2. WHO. New measles surveillance data. Available online: (last accessed March 2023
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Global Measles Outbreaks Available online: (Last accessed March 2023)
  4. – Masern & Impfen. Available online: (last accessed October 2022)

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