Page last updated/reviewed September 9, 2019
Measles is a very serious contagious disease that was once common during childhood. It is easily spread through the air (by sneezing or coughing) and by direct contact with someone who is infected. It can cause serious complications and even death. It is the leading cause of death in children worldwide from a vaccine-preventable disease. Before widespread immunization, measles caused an estimated 2.6 million deaths each year worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, in 2017 there were 110,000 measles deaths globally, mostly among children under the age of five. During 2000 – 2017, measles immunization prevented an estimated 21.1 million deaths.
Measles immunization is very effective at protecting children and adults against infection and is the best way to reduce the risk of disease. Any unprotected individuals (persons who have not been immunized or do not have evidence of immunity) can become infected with measles.
Although local cases of measles in Canada do not occur frequently, measles is still common in other parts of the world and unprotected travellers can bring measles into Canada. This could result in local outbreaks, especially where immunization rates are low.
AHS continues to advise all Albertans to ensure they are up to date on their immunizations, including measles vaccine.
Measles-containing vaccine is available, free of charge, through Alberta’s publicly-funded immunization program for:
Additional immunization recommendations for individuals who are travelling in North America (includes Canada, USA and Mexico) to destinations in which measles outbreaks are ongoing or travelling outside of North America – Refer to Travel Advisories below:
NOTE: Individuals who have already received two doses of measles-containing vaccine do not need additional doses, as these two doses have provided the required protection against measles.
The destinations identified in which measles outbreaks are ongoing, to where the additional immunization recommendations for travel would apply, include:
The additional immunization recommendations for travel apply to all individuals travelling outside of North America. Additional information can be found at:
The measles situation is being constantly evaluated using multiple criteria, there may be other places experiencing cases of measles that do not fit the criteria for expanded recommendations. If additional sites are identified that do fit the criteria this information will be added to the Travel Advisories.