In the Americas, endemic transmission of measles was interrupted in 2002 and rubella in 2009. But these diseases continue to circulate elsewhere in the world and could be reintroduced into the hemisphere by unvaccinated travelers.
Washington, July 12, 2016 (PAHO/WHO) — The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) is reminding persons who plan to attend the Olympic Games to get vaccinated especially against measles and rubella at least two weeks before traveling. The Olympic Games are scheduled to take place 5-21 August in Brazil, followed by the Paralympic Games during the period of 7-18 September, 2016.
In the Americas, endemic transmission of measles was interrupted in 2002 and transmission of rubella was interrupted in 2009. In 2015, the region was certified as having eliminated rubella and congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). An international commission is expected to certify the elimination of measles in the near future. However, unimmunized travelers from countries where these viruses still circulate could reintroduce them into the hemisphere.
"It is key that everyone traveling to the Games be up-to-date with their vaccination in order to ensure that we can keep the region free of measles and rubella," said PAHO Director Carissa F. Etienne.
This year's Games are expected to attract up to 500,000 visitors and participants from countries around the world. At least 104 countries had reported measles cases in 2015.
PAHO/WHO also recommends that all travelers ensure that their immunization for routine vaccines is up-to-date. Further to these recommendations, travelers should consider additional vaccines depending on their itinerary. More details on recommended health measures are outlined in the PAHO/WHO Health Advice for Travellers to the 2016 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.
PAHO, founded in 1902, is the oldest international public health organization in the world. It works with its member countries to improve the health and the quality of life of the people of the Americas. It also serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of WHO.