Measles, a disease that spreads quickly, kills hundreds of children in the world every day.
The disease is infecting people in Europe, Asia and Africa. There is something that can be done to protect against infection – get vaccinated.
Officials say if traveling to another country, make sure all travelers are up-to-date on measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (called MMR). Officials say children as young as 6 months old should receive the MMR vaccine.
It can be easy to think that measles will not affect hit close to home but one Minnesota mother found out how dangerous it can be while traveling. mIn a story told by officials with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), before traveling, the doctor recommended that her son get his MMR vaccine earlier than usual because they were traveling to visit family in Kenya. She wanted her son to get the vaccine, but he was finally sleeping. She decided it could wait until they came back. They were just going to visit family which didn’t seem like a big risk.
The day they returned home, her son developed a cough, runny nose and watery, red eyes. Then he got a fever and became very tired. She took him to the doctor, and they said it was a virus and to watch him closely. The cough got worse and the fever got higher so she took him to the doctor again. This time they put him in the hospital because he had pneumonia. The doctors did more tests and put him in a private room – he had measles.
It was hard for her child to breathe so they put him on a breathing machine. There were tubes in his mouth, nose and arms. The doctors warned that her son might die. For three weeks she watched a machine breath for her son.
The little boy survived, but his mother will never forget his suffering. According to MDH, the disease also spread to other people on the airplane and among family members that were not vaccinated.
To keep travels healthy, MDH says talk to a clinic representative or doctor about upcoming overseas trips. A doctor can advise about the shots and ways to stay healthy while traveling. MDH says to see a medical professional in enough time to get all the needed vaccines.
For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/travel.