Travel Clinic London – Travel Alert, Vietnam 23 January 2014

There have been reports of a recent measles outbreak in Vietnam, mainly centred around Ho Chi Minh City, with the first cases starting in December 2013.  More than 125 children have been hospitalised with suspected measles, including around 25 infants. Many of those affected have not been immunised against the disease.

What is Measles?

Measles is highly infectious and is spread by infected people coughing and sneezing. It is now very rare in the UK due to the national vaccination schedule although it is more common in less developed countries. Measles can lead to very serious complications, especially infants and young children, pregnant women, as well as people with underlying health conditions. Unvaccinated adults are also at risk. Measles can cause blindness and death in malnourished or immunocompromised children. Estimates suggest that one in every 5000 incidences of measles is fatal as a result of complications.

Signs and Symptoms of Measles

Symptoms include coughing, rash (particularly in the mouth), diarrhoea, runny nose and fever. This increases the likelihood of contracting the disease in busy and crowded urban centres such as Ho Chi Minh City in areas such as airports, public transport, markets and shopping centres.

Avoiding Measles

Travellers are advised to ensure that they are up to date with their UK vaccination schedule which includes the MMR Vaccine to protect against contracting measles. Children should have been immunised with two doses of MMR at between 12-15 months as well as a pre-school booster. For further information about the Vaccinations Needed for Travel to Vietnam or any other questions, please do get in touch with one of our Travel Clinics in London.