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Measles in Africa

19 Jul 2023

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports continuing transmission of measles in African countries. From the beginning of 2023 to 9 July 2023 the following have been reported:

  • Botswana: 13 cases

  • Cameroon: 4 671 cases, 18 deaths

  • Central African Republic: 1 656 cases

  • Chad: 8 189 cases, 4 deaths

  • Democratic Republic of the Congo: 82 601 cases, 1 442 deaths

  • Ethiopia: 5 052 cases, 3 deaths

  • Kenya: 270 cases, 4 deaths

  • Liberia: 10 664, 93 deaths

  • Mali: 276 cases, 0 deaths

  • Mauritania: 285 cases, 3 deaths

  • Niger: 1 530 cases, 0 deaths

  • Senegal: 371 cases, 0 deaths

  • South Africa: 6 460 cases, 0 deaths

  • South Sudan: 6 447 cases, 69 deaths

  • Zambia: 2 157 cases, 31 deaths

Measles is a highly infectious disease spread through sneezing, coughing or direct contact with respiratory fluids. It causes a rash, high temperature (fever) and muscle aches and can have serious complications.

Advice for Travellers

Travelling abroad may increase your risk of measles. Your risk of exposure may be higher if you will be visiting friends and relatives and/or mixing with the local population during your trip.

Two doses of measles vaccine (given as part of MMR in the UK) are needed in your lifetime to fully protect you.

Check with your GP before travelling to ensure you have received two doses of MMR vaccination.

If you have been previously infected with measles, this also provides you with lifelong immunity against the disease.

Children should be up to date with the UK Vaccination Schedule. This includes a dose of MMR vaccine at around 12-13 months, and a second dose usually given from 3 years 4 months of age.

  • If your child has not yet had 2 doses of the MMR vaccine, talk to your GP or travel health professional as they may be able to have the vaccine earlier than normal if you are travelling to an area considered to have a high risk of exposure to measles.

See the fitfortravel MMR page for further information.