An outbreak of measles is currently affecting several islands in the Pacific. Travellers should check for possible new entry requirements.

Islands including American Samoa, Solomon Islands, Republic of Marshall Islands and Tokelau have introduced new entry requirements for certain travellers to demonstrate history of vaccination or immunity to measles.

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness with the potential for serious and life-threatening complications. Travel remains an important factor in the international spread of measles.

Measles is spread by airborne or droplet transmission. Initial symptoms can include fever, runny nose, conjunctivitis and cough. A rash usually appears a few days later that starts at the head and spreads to the trunk and limbs over three to four days. Individuals are infectious from the time when the first symptom appears to four days after the appearance of the rash. The incubation period (the time from exposure to the virus to developing symptoms) is about ten days (ranging between seven and 18 days).

Complications of measles infection can occur including otitis media (ear infections), diarrhoea and convulsions (fits). Rarely encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or sub-acute sclerosing pan-encephalitis (chronic late onset brain inflammation leading to death) are reported. The risk of death from the complications of measles infection is age-related; it is high in children younger than one year and in adults.

All UK travellers should ensure they are up to date with the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination.

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