0819 GMT September 18, 2019
One study of Americans visiting travel clinics found that more than half of those who were recommended to get a measles vaccination did not do so before traveling, Live Science reported.
Another study found that more than two dozen Americans were sickened with hepatitis A while visiting a resort town in Mexico in early 2015. Although the hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for people going to Mexico, none of the people who got sick in this recent outbreak were vaccinated before traveling.
"Americans planning international travel should see their health care providers or visit a travel clinic four to six weeks before the trip to learn what vaccines are recommended before heading to their destinations," said Dr. Emily Hyle, an instructor at Harvard Medical School in Boston, who led the measles vaccine study.
About half of all US measles case are tied to people who catch the disease while traveling abroad, Hyle said.
"If we are more proactive about being sure that departing US travelers have measles immunity, [this] could go a long way towards" reducing measles cases, Hyle said.
For their study on measles vaccinations, Hyle and colleagues analyzed information from more than 40,000 American adults who visited travel clinics between 2009 and 2014. Of these, about 7,100 people (18 percent) were not vaccinated against measles, or were not up-to-date with their shots. However, 56 percent of those people who were recommended to get the measles vaccine — or 4,000 people — did not opt to get measles shot before traveling, the researchers found.
One of the most common reasons people gave for not getting the measles vaccine before traveling was that they were "not concerned about illness", the study said.
Although measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, meaning there is no longer continuous spread of the disease here, there are still more than 20 million measles cases yearly worldwide. Americans who catch measles while traveling can bring the disease back to the United States, and possibly start a measles outbreak.