CDC warns of measles at London Olympics
Rebecca Martin, the director of the CDC's Global Immunization Division, recommended that Americans who plan to travel this summer be current on measles vaccinations. In Europe, the measles virus is much more prevalent, causing eight deaths and 26,000 cases of infection last year, USA Today reports.
"Disease knows no borders," Martin said, according to USA Today. "We are concerned about Americans coming back from the Olympics this summer and unknowingly infecting others."
Most cases of measles in the U.S. are imported by travelers who have not been vaccinated. Before routine vaccinations started in the U.S., the virus killed between 3,000 and 5,000 Americans annually.
"We usually have about 50 cases a year, but last year we had a record number of importations (of at least 214 cases)," Greg Wallace, a measles specialist with the CDC's viral diseases division, said, according to USA Today.
According to the U.K. Health Protection Agency, England and Wales had 1,086 cases of measles last year. In addition, Ukraine, which is one of the two sites for the Euro 2012 soccer cup, is experiencing a major measles outbreak right now.
In 2011, there were 214 cases of measles in the United States that required 68 hospitalizations.