Measles: WHO issues travel advisory on disease in Europe

Image copyright EPA Image caption The WHO says people aged 60 and older should avoid travel to areas affected by measles

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that people aged 60 and over should avoid travel to certain areas affected by measles, among other non-travel related health risks.

The WHO said it was advising against travel to the Middle East, parts of Africa and Latin America.

The travel advice follows a recent measles outbreak in northern Europe. It is also issuing travel warnings to Egypt, Cameroon, Kenya, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, and South Sudan.

It comes after the WHO issued travel warnings to about a dozen countries in Africa and Asia this month.

It advised against travel to nine African countries including Angola, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Niger Republic, Togo, Burkina Faso, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.

The travel advisories apply to travellers arriving within the country.

They cover 52 countries, representing 80% of the world’s population.

The UK, France, the Netherlands, Ireland, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Serbia, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Georgia, Estonia, Iceland, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Austria, Ireland, Lithuania, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovenia, Netherlands, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Romania, Slovenia, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Ireland, Poland, Italy, Germany, France, Malta, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Belarus, Austria, France, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Poland, and Iceland.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The WHO is also warning about swine flu

More than 12,000 people have died of measles worldwide this year, according to the WHO, who warned against travelling to parts of north Africa, southeastern Asia, Central America, South and South-east Asia and Pacific Islands.

“Measles is a life-threatening infectious disease which affects a large range of people and can be fatal even in healthy adults,” said Marie-Paule Kieny, director of the WHO’s Department of Essential Medicines, Immunisation and Hygiene.

“Given the recent and high number of cases observed in some countries, the WHO reiterates its earlier advice and advises against travel to countries where there are currently measles outbreaks.”

“It is important to note that we are not recommending this travel advice is intended for tourists and visitors to any country,” she added.

“It is a precautionary measure based on the global information on the issue and the current health risk. It is an obligation of travellers to take the necessary precautions to avoid potentially infectious diseases.”

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The warning comes after a measles outbreak in Europe

People born between 1945 and 1960 are advised to avoid travel to countries with endemic measles rates of at least 10 cases per 100,000 people, such as Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria, and Iraq.

The WHO is also warning about swine flu, measles, and dengue and Chikungunya.

The WHO is advising travellers to “undertake appropriate measures” to avoid these diseases.

“Some of these steps may require frequent use of health care services, especially for travellers, including treatment of a confirmed or suspected case of a suspected case,” it said.

It has also warned that traveller from Sri Lanka should avoid the Ganges Delta, the Mahaweli flood plains, Mumbai’s high coastal areas and the coast of India.

It has also issued a travel advisory for some northeastern provinces of China, citing regional health authorities.

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