If you're travelling to Europe the Canadian government has some new advice for you. Canada has updated travel advisories for 30 European countries amid an ongoing measles outbreak there. The updates, which are to the travel health information, come as at least eight major outbreaks are hitting the continent.
The eight outbreaks, which have involved at least 1000 reported cases each, are primarily in Albania, France, Georgia, Italy, Romania, Russia, Serbia, and Ukraine, but the Canadian Government has added the measles outbreak information for a total of 30 countries, as cases have been reported there as well and travellers could be at risk.
According to the government, measles is an incredibly contagious disease which circulates naturally in Europe. However, it doesn't circulate naturally in Canada meaning the cases brought back here are all from travellers who have visited places, like Europe, where measles are present.
The government says that travellers in these places are especially at risk if they "have not had measles, or have not received the age-appropriate recommended doses of the measles vaccine."
For Canadians, an age-appropriate dose means that one-dose is given around 12 to 15 months old, and a second dose is given around 4 to 6 years old.
If you haven't had these vaccine doses, you could be at risk for contracting measles while travelling in Europe, especially in these 30 countries:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Czech Republic
- North Macedonia
- United Kingdom
According to the updated health information from the government, on top of making sure you're vaccinated, Canadians should "consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic 6 weeks before you travel."
It's also advised that you wash your hands frequently while travelling and keep alcohol-based hand sanitizer on you. They also recommend monitoring your health after your trip to ensure you don't show any symptoms of measles.
Currently, in Canada, there is also a small, ongoing measles outbreak, as a result of unvaccinated travellers. The outbreak is primarily in Vancouver and other parts of BC and so far there have been 27 cases reported there.
Measles is a highly contagious disease with no cure, though most people recover naturally within two to three weeks. Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, and eventually red, blotchy rashes on your body. In severe cases, complications can include pneumonia, blindness, and swelling of the brain causing damage or even death.